Can cooperate with Congress on issues but no alliance: Sitaram Yechury
Kolkata: The CPI(M) is ready for issue-based cooperation with Congress but ruled out any alliance outside Parliament saying it will have "nothing to do" with a party which still follows neo-liberal policies.
"What we are saying is on specific issues we can unite with other political forces in Parliament and outside Parliament, against the policies being brought out by the Modi government. Outside Parliament, we went to the President along with the Congress on this land acquisition bill issue. On specific issues we are ready to cooperate with other political parties," he said.
"But when we say not outside Parliament means no front or alliance with any of the parties (Congress) that is being contemplated," Yechury told PTI in an interview.
On being asked that when CPI(M) is willing to fight with Congress on specific issues then what is stopping it from forging alliance in fighting BJP, he said, "We are calling for uniting non-Congress secular parties. Why not Congress? Because it is the Congress that has brought these communal forces to power today.
"It is due to their (Congress') corruption, their economic policies that BJP has come to power today. Now as long as that party continues with those policies, those programs, which it is continuing, there is no question that we will have anything to do with that party."
He accused the Modi government of being adamant and persistent in pushing the "anti-farmer" land bill.
When asked how long the Opposition's strategy of not allowing the bill to be either passed or get defeated in the Rajya Sabha work, Yechury said, "They should answer this question. Why are they amending a bill which they themselves supported in 2013? They supported this bill in 2013, the bill was passed, law was passed with BJP support.
"Why are they are trying to bring in amendments today, why are they so persistent in bringing those amendments that you proclaim ordinance for the third time on the same issue, which is unprecedented?"
On the recent Lalit Modi controversy, he demanded a through inquiry into the issue.
"We have demanded a thorough inquiry into the whole set of allegations. There could be a SIT under the direct supervision of judiciary and I think that should be done to identify and punish the guilty," he said.
Yechury alleged that the IPL was the biggest route of money laundering and said if the Modi government is serious on the issue of black money then it should act on the Lalit Modi controversy.
Asked whether Congress is honest enough in opposing the policies of BJP especially the land bill, the 62-year-old Marxist leader said, "Well at the moment they are opposing it.
They appear to continue to oppose it. As long as they are opposing it's good. Because we are also opposing it on principle. So it is good that there is an issue where we can go together."
The possibility of forging an alliance with Congress, at least in Bengal to defeat the ruling TMC, kicked off last week after CPI(M) central committee member Gautam Deb stated that the Left Front did not have enough strength and also hinted at an "understanding" with Congress.
"There was a need for a greater alliance with other like- minded political parties to defeat the TMC regime," he had said.
A section of senior Congress leaders from Bengal had welcomed Deb's statement too.
"What you (media) is saying and Gautam Deb is saying are totally different. And on the issue that the strength of the Left is not so strong to defeat the TMC, may be the assessment of the CPI(M) state committee. It may be their assessment, how can I comment on it? I can't comment," Yechury said.
While commenting on the one year of the Modi government, he said the biggest achievement of the NDA is "aggressive persuasion of neo-liberal polices of the previous UPA regime and spreading the communal agenda of RSS".
When asked whether there is a possibility of merger between the CPI and CPI(M) in near future, Yechury said, "The merger is not in the immediate agenda. But yes we have decided that both the parties will continue to work together in strengthening people's struggle. The mass organisations of both the parties too will work together. And through these process of joint struggles and work we will see in future."
Yechury, while taking about the condition of his party in Bengal, sounded optimistic saying the CPI(M) for the first time has been able to arrest the erosion in its vote share.
"For the first time since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, there has been elections every year in Bengal. But for the first time in 2015 we have witnessed a rise in our vote share in KMC polls since the previous election.”
"Our strategy was to arrest the decline, recover and then build. So we have arrested the decline, now we will recover the popular support and rebuild," Yechury said