Electoral alliances not formula-driven: Newly elected CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury

Yechury feels that all secular democratic parties need to first strengthen themselves in states and thereafter in Parliament to take on the BJP.

Published: 24th April 2018 03:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2018 05:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Newly re-elected CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has said that any electoral alliance with the Congress or other parties will depend on specific political conditions in each state and there is no single formula that fits all.

Yechury, who managed to get his political line inducted in the party’s political draft after much opposition, feels that all secular democratic parties need to first strengthen themselves in states and thereafter in Parliament to take on the BJP. 

Emphasising that unity is the biggest weapon, the 67-year-old leader says the focus is to work collectively to take on the BJP government. He also talks of the Karnataka polls and preparations for the 2019 elections in an interview with The New Indian Express. 

Does the CPI(M)’s new political line allow for a seat-sharing agreement with the Congress? 
What sort of arrangement or tactics we adopt will depend on specific conditions in each state. India is not a monolithic country; it is so diverse that there are differences (across states). See in Uttar Pradesh, if the BSP-SP come together, then the Congress and Left are inconsequential. Similar will be the case in Bihar, if Yadavs and Muslims get together.

In South states, the Congress is not a main player and also in Odisha.
So, it is only a myth being generated whether there will be a Congress-led alliance or not. In 1996, the United Front was formed after the elections, and in 2004, the UPA was formed after the elections, never before. So, these things don’t happen with a formula-driven sort of thing. They happen based on the situation in each part of India.

Are there still differences over the political line adopted by the party over an alliance with the Congress?
Whatever the party Congress has decided, it is there in black-and-white. There is an amendment that was moved by the Steering Committee and, based on that, the political resolution was adopted. And that makes it very clear that there cannot be any political alliance with the Congress. 

The first thing this amendment does is that it removes the thing that there can be no ‘political understanding’ or an ‘electoral alliance’ with the Congress. Instead, it says that there can be no ‘political alliance’ with the Congress. Now, no political alliance is a time-tested principle of the party. When it comes to elections, we have made it very clear that appropriate electoral tactics will be adopted with the objective of maximising the pooling of the anti-BJP vote. There is no need for any confusion. 

What will be the party line for the Karnataka elections? 
Vote for Left candidates and where there are no Left candidates, vote for the strongest candidate to defeat the BJP. 

Is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee working on a third front? 
We heard of third front politics for the first time 22 years ago, when we had a United Front government (1996). Now, the question is it will all depend on policies….

Will the CPI(M)’s political stand cement efforts for an alternative front? 
It will first happen at the regional level, post elections. The whole objective… is to maximise strength first at the regional level, and with that our strength in Parliament, and after that we will see how we proceed. 

Factionalism in the CPI(M) has affected the performance and morale of the cadre…
Unity inside the party is of supreme importance to us. Unity is our only weapon… The determination of the party is that this government has to go.


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