Sitaram Yechury said people are fed up of whatever is happening in the name of cow protection
Imagining a pan-India non-BJP front at this stage is like “chasing a chimera” because no such front is possible before the results of the Lok Sabha elections are out, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has said.
He, however, avoided a direct answer to the question as to whether Rahul Gandhi will be accepted as the leader of coalition if Congress emerges as the largest party, saying it will depend on circumstances at the time.
“Right now I would be trying to persuade them (political leaders) to not go chasing a chimera of an all-India front now. Now maximise the anti-BJP vote at the state level and post elections that will naturally follow,” Mr Yechury said in an interview with CNN-News18, to be aired on Sunday.
“The third front is a state-wise arrangement. I’m convinced of that. Beyond that anything else right now is not practical,” he added.
Mr Yechury said that any alternative government formation that has come on the basis of any front, the front is always formed after the elections. It never emerges before the elections.
“The arrangement of V.P. Singh becoming the Prime Minister emerged post election. In 1996 the United Front was formed post election when Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister. In 2004 the UPA was formed post election,” he added.
Asked if some of the arch rivals like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are coming together – and others too willing to bury their hatchet – just to oust the BJP, Yechury said the pressure was from the public.
“It is not the parties themselves, the pressure is coming from the people that we have to come together to get rid of this government first. That is the priority today. And that is a what we are all responding to. Otherwise, even a year ago who could have imagined SP-BSP coming together?” he said.
He said people are fed up of whatever is happening in the name of cow protection and how “every single institution” from Parliament and judiciary to the Election Commission to universities and research bodies etc is being attacked.
“Dalits and Muslims are massacred. In the name of moral policing our children our being told what to wear, what to eat, whom to befriend, whom they can speak to etc otherwise they are assaulted. The entire social fabric of our country is being destroyed in front of our eyes and people are responding to it saying that this should stop,” Mr Yechury said.
On fighting the battle alongside the Congress party, Mr Yechury said that the foremost priority was to get rid of the BJP government and in that battle no option could be closed.
“We have been the worst victims as well as the foremost fighters against the Congress policies. But even for that battle to continue, to bring in a policy alternative the first priority is to ensure that this government does not remain in office. So with that priority we said don’t close all our options,” he said.
Asked if Rahul Gandhi will be accepted as the leader of coalition if Congress emerges as the largest party, Mr Yechury said: “Who will be the leader will be on the basis of numbers post election.”
He underlined that the it was a “very big moment” for the Congress to accept a junior partner as a Chief Minister in Karnataka.
“I mean normally, by the rules of democracy it’s the numbers that matter. But, here in order to achieve that objective keeping the BJP out the Congress went that distance. That’s a new development. So, that shows some thinking which can lead to a situation,” Mr Yechury said.
On opposition going to the battlefield without a leader, Mr Yechury said the country today need a direction, not leaders (desh ko neta nahi desh ko neeti chahiye).
“Atal Bihari Vajpayee was seen as a colossus in 2004. It was said who can defeat Vajpayee, who can defeat the BJP and its shining India campaign? You saw what happened,” he said.
However, Mr Yechury ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), saying he would not be part of any arrangement that had Mamata Banerjee.
On the chances of Nitish Kumar being accepted back into the Mahagathbandhan, Mr Yechury said: ” I can’t say but that will depend on his talks with former partners first. It is not our doing. It is his own doing. I was very disappointed, I still am very disappointed that he’s done what he’s done.”
Mainintaining that it was a “betrayal of the people’s mandate”, the CPI-M leader said that normally, a government of this nature “should not be allowed to continue”.