Stressing the need to better the quality of party membership, including revving up its women membership, the CPI-M on Wednesday said it is making efforts to improve inner party democracy.Addressing media persons on the fourth and penultimate day of the organizational plenum here, politburo member and former general secretary Prakash Karat said 198 amendments to the draft report and 65 amendments to the draft resolution have been received which will be discussed on the final day of the plenum on Thursday."There is a very serious attempt to improve the quality of party membership. The focus is not just on numbers, of course we have now 10.66 lakh members, but the concentration is on improving the quality of the membership - politically and ideologically," he said.
Conceding that the current women membership of 15.5 percent in the party was "not satisfactory", Karat said a target has been set to increase the female party membership to 25 percent in the next three years.With a section of party leaders crying about lack of "democratic centralism" within the party, he said steps are being taken to improve inner party democracy."We have reviewed the working of the democratic centralism of the party and we feel the key is to strengthen inner party democracy. Which means institutionalising democratic functioning within the party and concrete steps are being taken in that regard.
"As a party we subject ourselves to self critical review and we encourage free and frank criticism of our functioning. In the plenum, delegates have given some suggestions and endorsements to strengthen the functioning of the party and the leadership," he said."We have received 198 amendments to the draft report and 65 amendments to the draft resolution. The steering committee will discuss and decide on the amendments and tomorrow (Thursday) we will present the report and resolution for adoption by the plenum," he added.Talking about the party's plan of action for the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls, Karat said a decision on the issue of forging an alliance will taken in the next few weeks.Asked to comment on the speculations on a possible alliance with the Congress, Karat replied: "The popular mood in the state is on ousting the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress regime. Everybody knows there is an extraordinary situation in Bengal. We will discuss what tactics are required to fight against this sort of authoritarian regime."