CPI (M) says it is ready to forge a front with Congress in Parliament on issues like land bill and secularism but ruled out being part of a national front or alliances outside because “they are not credible”.
Sitaram Yechury, the newly-elected General Secretary of the party, acknowledges that the coming assembly elections in Bihar would be a litmus test for anti-BJP forces and would wait and watch how the merger of Janata Parivar evolves in deciding their strategy.
The leader of the CPI(M), whose party joined Sonia Gandhi-led protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan on the land acquisition bill, said the party’s first emphasis is to strengthen itself.
Inside Parliament, we have said we will unite on all these issues (like land bill), issue to issue which we think are not in the interests of the country and the people.
“Outside Parliament, our party has said that the projection of a front at the national level, with many of these regional parties, is not tenable at the moment because such a front has to have a policy alternative, which as a whole, we think, in the present situation cannot emerge,” Yechury told in an interview.
He was replying to a question as to what will be CPI (M)’s stand on tying up with Congress and other parties to take on BJP, especially after the new-found camaraderie under Congress President Gandhi.
The 63-year-old parliamentary party leader, who has a reputation of practising pragmatic politics, said that Rahul Gandhi’s recent campaign on issues like land bill is good.
“But right now there is no coherent alternative the Congress is offering. Now we will have to wait and see the next important thing that will come,” he said, adding the GST Bill and the labour law reforms the government is trying to push can be a new area of opportunity for joint action.
To a question about the decline of the Left forces including CPI(M) after the 2009 elections and whether snapping ties with UPA on the Indo-US nuclear deal was a mistake, Yechury initially said “no” but corrected himself later.
“We have said that this was not the issue (to withdraw support). It should have been a people’s issue like price rise and the UPA abandoning the ‘aam aadmi’ perspective.
“And it was also the timing (of withdrawal) for which we also self-criticised. But the issue of (opposing) the nuclear deal, we have no regrets and we think is correct.”
Yechury said by going ahead with the nuclear deal, it was a signal that the UPA wanted to jettison the Left.
He said the Indo-US nuclear deal was not part of the CMP but there was “tremendous pressure on India to be a subordinate ally of the US strategic interests in the world. We have been vindicated on this”.
On the direction given by the CPI(M) Congress recently in Vishakhapatnam where he was elected the General Secretary, Yechury said, “CPI(M) is the party of the future and we have to emerge that way.”
He said for the next three years, the party’s primacy is to first arrest the decline, then regain and then restore people’s confidence in it.
The next task, he said, is of uniting the Left which is dispersed among various parties, many of whom operate at the state levels.
“We have to unite these Left parties and a large section of non-party sympathisers and intellectuals to a common agenda. Through this, we will seek the unity of Left and democratic forces to present a policy alternative to counter the ruling classes.”