INTERVIEW with Sitaram Yechury, senior politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7. Yechury stated that the CPI (M) is ready to oppose the Congress by getting along with the BJP on the issue of economic policies and corruption. But Yechury alleged that BJP has been supporting the Congress in an clandestine manner on the issue of economic policies.
PC: Senior leader, this post is attained by very few people in your party.
SY: Now you have made it a habit by saying it time and again.
PC: Now, in every party, what is happening is that the post is with the person who makes the party lose elections.
PC: (Laughs) Now, in your party, for name sake, it is a national party.
SY: No, no why only in name, it is in reality.
PC: Sitaramji, I am asking you, Prakashjee got the top position for the third time, he made you lose election, you lost West Bengal too, even after that, the same is happening in BJP and Congress. National Parties are in control of leaders who cannot make the party win elections. Do you agree with this?
SY: The people finally decide who will win the election or not. But the question is …
PC: The people decided to make your leaders lose
SY: We have listened to the people’s mandate.
PC: But your leaders don’t agree
SY: No, no, the party congress which happened recently, we gave a serious thought and said, that there is a need to go among the people and struggle to resolve the issues they face. On that basis, we will go among the people.
PC: You are not answering my question. The leaders have accountability
PC: Your policies, your leadership you lead, if I am an editor and my newspaper fast loses circulation, even then can I be the editor.
SY: Leave that issue; there is a number of editors that I can name.
PC: Your party believes in the dictum, the one who loses should be rewarded.
SY: No,no , the party collectively takes some decisions, whatever the results, we collectively accept them.
PC: There is a problem with the national parties; people who lose are still stuck to their positions, be it any party, the Congress, where Rahul Gandhi said will win in UP, or any other
SY: First he said about Bihar,
PC: In your party, big and the small election has was lost
SY: In our party Congress it was decided for the first time, that nobody will be able to be the general secretary for more than three terms. This is the amendment we made to our constitution.
PC: Hence, this is his last term
SY: Yes, this is the last term
PC: After this you will get rid of him
SY: No, somebody else will be the general secretary
PC: Would you be in line
SY: No, the party will decide that
PC: In your communist movement, there is an ideological base, you believe in that, but it doesn’t seem so in the national parties, where leaders who speak good English, have a taste for fine food and abroad travel and mix with other parties dominate, they are the leaders, the other workers are out.
SY: This is wrong, and should not happen. The leaders should be a representative of the people, he is a real leader.
PC: Like you did in Kerala, you removed VS saab
SY: Where did we remove him
PC: You removed him The one who lost is general secretary, the one who won was sent out
SY: He was not in the politburo earlier too
PC: He was removed one time, then brought in, then removed again.
SY: This time he was in the politburo, but inspite of his age, we recognised his great contribution in Kerala politics, not only in our party, hence he would be in our central committee.
PC: You included him in the central committee, but what was the reason for removing him from the politburo, because he did not get along with Pinarayi
SY: No there was no faulty,
PC: He made you win election that was the fault
SY: No, no, this is not his fault, this is his achievement. But keeping his age in mind, it was that there should be no person more than 80 years of age in the politburo.
PC: A proposal has come but did not pass
SY: Yes, but in the politburo we implemented it as a rule people more than 80 years of age should not be in politburo
PC: That means if Buddhadeb Bhattacharya made you lose election, but you kept him. He does not come in the meeting, does indiscipline, even then he has been included. Is this not a class bais, that he wears good clothes, looks like bhadralok, or a Bengal versus Kerala is going on there,
SY: He has got a disease because he cannot walk too much, or travel much.
PC: He does not even attend meetings in Calcutta, it is a matter of some kilometres.
SY: No, no, he is going in many public meetings in Calcutta, going in many districts, there he is leading the party.
PC: He gives speeches there. You party lost there, after 35 years.
SY: Arre, It was there for 35 years. Even that is an achievement, tell me who has won seven elections in a row, which is the party.
PC: When one is not feeling well, but the other is old but fit, may win a walking race against you, then removing him, and including an ill man. Is it not the fault of a some select type of people.
SY: No, Buddhadebji
PC: Elitist control, is the state that your party is going under
SY: The reason for including Buddhadebji was that he is leading our party Bengal and doing resistance and revolt against the incumbent government, he is doing that. He is travelling in Bengal. But currently, he is not able to travel long distances because of the respiratory problem.
PC: Then what was the reason for including him
SY: The condition will improve in some time
PC: Or in that after losing Prakash Karat
SY: There is a difference in improving health and losing
PC: You chief minister, after losing, is in the politburo. Don’t you feel that your party is divided into two factions, Kerala and Bengal? Don’t know what faction are you in
SY: It is a good thing, till the time you are unable to fit me in. That is not true, the issue is
PC: By way of talking you are a communist, culturally you seem from the Congress
SY: No, you will say culturally. I am an Indian, communist. The issue is that this situation is challenging for our party. We lost elections, not only in Bengal and Kerala, but also places in North India, the development of the party which was expected to happen, did not.
PC: In a politburo meeting you had said that in North there will be expansion
SY: Did not happen, the question is how to face these challenges. Now, pertaining to this issue, we took some decisions in this congress, on those lines, will will strengthen our position and increase you support base among people, except for which there is no shortcut.
PC: National parties like CPI (M), CPI national party, I cannot say, Congress are going on shrinking, their geographical base, their mass support, one is seeing that it is shrinking. It is because all three parties seem the same. Their leadership seems the same.
SY: Not because of the leadership
PC: What else CPI (M), Congress, what is the difference, you leaders speak English, their’s also .
SY: I speak Telugu, Bengali, speaking with you in Hindi, now you will say this is negative attribute.
PC: The leadership of the old time like Surjeet saab struggled, Jyoti Basu was elitist but struggled
SY: No, they were part of the national movement, that generation was different.
PC: Who all should I name
SY: What you are saying is absolutely correct, that generation evolved from the national movement. That was one generation which is not there now.
PC: In every party this thing happened, there is no leader like Atal Bihari Vejpayee in the BJP, no one like Indira in Congress, no one like Namboodripad in CPI (M). Now there is Prakash Karat, Rahul Gandhi,
SY: And for the first time also agree that the from among the whole population, more than 54 per cent are less than 25 years.
PC: You said that 54 per cent of the voters are less than 25 years. Rahul Gandhi also said that they will win in UP as new voters will be there this time. New voters come after every five years, it was no a new thing.
SY: There is one thing, there generation of today, the youth,
PC: Why is it not connecting with national party.
SY: Please listen, it is a serious question, not only for CPI (M),
PC: I am talking of national parties, your party
SY: It is a serious question for India. The new generation, the youth of today, how are they thinking, what are their aspirations and expectations? Till you don’t understand that, the present situation that national parties are in will happen. And they are getting attached to regional parties because of their proximity, they can see these parties with them. Now, this is a very big challenge for everybody, for the whole country. That if you could give this youth, education ,health facility, employment, this youth will develop a new India. And wherever they have got opportunity, they are doing, all over the world. In Silicon Valley, the second language is Indian. Our youth can do leadership of the whole world, but, the question is that he is unsatisfied, there is frustration developing inside him, that his potential is not getting achieved.
PC: They are going towards Naxalism, picking up arms, leaving you, it means the youth of today are not in agreement with economic policy. Either he is going with regional party, or Naxalism
SY: No going towards Naxalism, but should not go to some anarchy, that is a danger.
PC: Why did you fail, what are the reasons?
SY: The reason his
PC: It was a hunting ground
SY: We have to consolidate that hunting ground. That is the challenge before us.
PC: It is a challenge, but you were not able to do it, you failed
SY: Now till you dont go discuss and address their questions, mobilize them politically, till then it will not happen.
PC: Wont you agree with the mistake that you were behind the Congress all these years, you supported the Congress everywhere, till 2008, you were known a part of Congress.
SY: You are forgetting, the Lok Sabha elections are 2004, the 61 left MP’s that won, out of them, 57 won after defeating Congress.
PC: Yes, but after that you supported them
SY: That we did because we had to stop, what we understood that
PC: Communal forces are more dangerous, but you got wiped out after that
PC: In the next election you were wiped out, how much you came down from 57
SY: We were there for 35 years in Bengal
PC: When you supported Congress openly, then the people rejected you in West Bengal, people rejected you in other places, hence do you agree with mistake
SY: They did not reject because of that reason, we rejected because we said that time that we will form a government of the third front, and who was with us in the third front that time
PC: Mulayam Singh, it means that people did not want to make Mulayam Singh Prime Minister,
SY: Mayawatiji and Jaylalatha got projected,
PC: Because you said that Mayawati can also become
SY: This kind of tie up, which happened, people did not believe in it
PC: But tell me one thing, your party would have told Prakash Karat, that you can take the name of Mayawati as possible Prime Minister. Prakash Karat said, endorsed her, that she can also become
SY: Bardhan saab said that first time
PC: But you people said the second time
SY: We both said, but the question is,
PC: It was a mistake
SY: This alternative government we will make, this what we projected was a mistake.
PC: But the decision that came recently, the statement that has come from the general secretary, that we will not support the Congress because we have to keep the BJP out of power. This is a big shift.
SY: Please see, the question,
PC: Till now you were supporting the Congress on secularism, communism, you had got an excuse,
SY: The reality which you told is correct, not Congress, nor BJP. The condition of national parties today, that you earlier said, the kind of danger is not existent today, which was in 2004. Now the question is that the policies that the Congress government is implementing today, because of this, the common people, economic condition is going from bad to worse, according to us, it …
PC: I will repeat his statement again, we will not support Congress to keep communal party out, this is the change in policy,
SY: No, the change in policy is that we will not support Congress, till these policies that it is implementing ,we will not support it. If we have to stop BJP, that question does not arise, that is not a question.
PC: To keep BJP at bay you supported Congress earlier, now it is said that to keep BJP at bay you will not support Congress.
SY: We are saying that BJP
PC: Collective Materialism is there
SY: There is no question of stopping the BJP now, now it is not in a condition to be stopped. It means that it will not reach till there.
PC: BJP and CPI (M) got together to form the VP Singh government, after that the Babri Masjid incident happened, now it seems in the name of Babri Masjid, how long will you keep on supporting Congress.
SY: We were there during the emergency and together got it removed, you and me were there together. We fought together.
PC: The incident of Babri Masjid, many years have passed, the excuse that you had got, you faced loss because of that.
SY: Where did we face loss, the most loss BJP had to face? We are after them
PC: Their cadre, there is no difference between them and the Congress, but now even you seem to look like Congress,
SY: We are fighting and want to make and alternative system stand. Today we are weakened, there is no doubt about that.
PC: This slogan of alternative system, we are listening from CPI (M) from the time we were in college. That we have to give alternative agenda, now on that you ruled for 35 years, but were limited to small state
SY: For 100 years slogans were given, the freedom struggle too that much time
PC: Hence you meant to say you will take 100 years.
SY: No, I don’t mean it will take 100 years, the issue is that the slogans which are given are achieved.
PC: If I ask you one mistake of CPI (M) in the past eight to ten years, what happened, because of which you are shrinking.
SY: The one mistake which happened in the 2009 elections, the alternative government issue, the slogan that we gave, did not instill trust in people.
PC: Because you cannot form that is why
SY: Cannot from, And we cannot form which caused a negative reaction ..
PC: That is why people voted for Congress
SY: And because of that the vote we should have got, if we would have said, make the leftists strong, we will work as pressure group, like we did, then we would not be in this situation, this was our mistake.
PC: Now there is no chance of a third front getting formed.
SY: In today’s condition, who is third, who is fourth, one has to search ,if some struggle, jan andolan, movement happens, only them something will emerge.
PC: In an earlier time, Jyoti Basu was offered Prime Ministership, you people said no , then you party said historic blunder. Now your leader was dreaming to become Prime Minister, do you feel a Marxist will become Prime Minister of this country?
SY: The opportunity will come, when the support of the people will be behind us. It cannot happen by anybody else’s help.
PC: On the issue of economic policies, crony capitalism , Marxist party, on the issue of Lokpal bill, or any other bill, it seems that you oppose the Congress somewhere, then you keep quiet. Don’t take to the roads, do andolan,
SY: Now, this is the questions, two lakh workers come here to protest against corruption and economic policies, regarding that in the newspapers, a small news item appears on the ninth page, that traffic jam was caused because the workers came, this is the news. Now if somebody sits at Jantar Mantar that becomes
PC: The credibility of your movement is getting diminished, Marxists, when did you stall parties on the issue of economic policies, please tell
SY: In this session itself, on the issue of farmer suicides,
PC: One day you raised the issue, then all over. Capital gains tax is being implemented, big people crony capitalism is happening, such big hungama is happening.
SY: Chawala saab, please tell, be it is issue of capital gains tax or crony capitalism, who raises it other than us.
PC: people do too sometimes
SY: They do, that is another issue, but our complaint, either Congress or BJP,
PC: What is the agenda this time, all non Congress opposition getting together, some common agenda, platform co ordination, parliament co ordination, can do something or not
SY: Now, floor co ordination will happen, but the question is, you and me in our time, saw many films of Dev Anand, and when he died, we gave our condolences, do you remember the song aakhon hee aakhon mein
PC: Ishara ho gaya
SY: Baithe baithe jeene ka sahara ho gaya. BJP, Congress both sit, we are in between, in the parliament, and aakhon hee aakhon mein ishara ho jaata hain, aur aarthik neetiyan lagoo ho jaati hain
PC: Because you are not doing co ordination with the BJP,
SY: We are doing, like floor co ordination should be there among opposition parties, that will happen, that is happening.
PC: Do it openly, why are you doing is in a clandestine manner
SY: No, no where in the clandestine manner
PC: On every issue, like it used to happen earlier, on every issue sitting together in the morning , like it used to happen earlier, because danger to the nation, do you or do you not want to remove this government, what is your priority.
SY: On the issue of Lokpal bill, in the Rajya Sabha, this whole hungama happened, at last by doing something, the Congress had to post pone, why? Because co ordination was there, and secondly, the judge impeachment which happened for the first time in our history, happened because there was co ordination.
PC: Hence, in the next two years we will see that your with opposition parties, with BJP, because you say this government is not good, wrong, economic policies are wrong, together will try to remove this government.
SY: If BJP is ready to come on board, then there is no hesitation in going with them on the issue of economic policies, but the issue is that one many economic policies, support happens aakhon hee aakhon mein ishara, now this is our problem, this is our problem, where they are ready, like the Lokpal bill,
PC: Hence, you are ready to take give support to BJP on the issue of economic policies, corruption, will get together and do openly, to remove Congress
PC: Will see how you do it in the parliament, thank you for coming to our studio.
SY: Thank You, Prabhuji !