Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Prakash Karat on Friday said that he does not favour a secret ballot vote on the party’s draft political resolution at the ongoing meeting of its delegates in Hyderabad, IANS reported.

An alliance with the Congress in the 2019 General Elections is one of the key points of contention in the resolution. The party’s General Secretary Sitaram Yechury favours an alliance with the Congress, but Karat is firmly opposed to it.

Friday was the third day of the party’s 22nd congress. In January, Yechury offered to resign from his position after the Central Committee accepted Karat’s view and rejected Yechury’s proposal. A final decision is expected at the ongoing congress.

Yechury favours an alliance with “secular forces” to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party. After the defeat of Yechury’s proposal in January, Karat denied there was any factionalism or clashes within the party.

At the congress on Thursday, a delegate from Maharashtra proposed a secret ballot, PTI reported. The delegate backed Yechury, and claimed that the party line advocated by Karat would benefit the BJP. Delegates from several states also supported the call for a secret ballot.

Karat, however, later told reporters that the party’s constitution does not have a provision for such a vote. The party’s delegates at the national congress usually vote in debates with a show of hands.

He also refuted speculation that Yechury might be removed from his post because the party does not accept his views. “In our party there is always a majority and minority view,” the former CPI(M) general secretary said. “In all our political discussions, it is a normal thing to have divergent views. It is not a new thing. Once different views are expressed and it is collectively decided by a vote, then it becomes a collective opinion of the party.”

He said the party would never deny a member a post because they hold a minority view. He claimed that the demand for a secret ballot to vote on the draft political resolution was unprecedented. However, he said it would depend on the congress.

“There is no instance for voting on a resolution by secret ballot so far in our party congress,” Karat said. “It has never happened. We never had this practice but this is the highest decision-making body. Let us see what our delegates say about this.”