‘Left’s focus is to consolidate political forces; oust the BJP in 2019’

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on December 31, 2018 Published on December 31, 2018


The Communists have been instrumental in fanning farmers’ agitations across the country, starting with a big march in Maharashtra in March, 2018, to a series of agitations on jobless growth, agrarian crisis and impact of the economic policies on poorer sections. Talking to BusinessLine, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury described how the Left is positioned in terms of intensifying agitations on issues of political economy and what their role would be in forging political alliances and an alternative policy discourse. Excerpts

How do you analyse the recent Assembly elections and their impact on national politics in the run-up to the general elections?

It is clear that the economy has been messed up, fiscal deficit targets have already been breached and the BJP’s margin for giving out doles in an election year has shrunk. That is why they are targeting the resources of the RBI but these ventures are not going to succeed. If they update the fiscal targets, the institutional finance will start leaving and have a disastrous impact on the economy. We have seen the results of the BJP’s handling of economy in all spheres, particularly the rural sector which has translated into consolidation of votes against them. The voters’ sentiments have been stirred by a series of agitations organised by over 200 farmers’ groups and the Left which has actively supported them. These agitations will only intensify in the months to come. On January 8-9 all the industrial workers’ unions, including the Congress, have given a call for a nation-wide strike and the farmers’ organisation, except the RSS’ BMS have extended their support.

How do you view the Congress’s response to these issues; The Left did not align with the Congress in the recent Assembly polls and it did not do well in Telangana. Would you try to focus on forging a national alliance with the Congress against the BJP?

The basic dynamic is that people have started rejecting Modi. There is pressure from below on all national and regional parties to vote the BJP out. Our effort will be to oust the BJP and in that, alliances with anti-BJP forces are a natural corollary.

You seem to predict a hung Parliament which does not bode well for any concrete policy vision, immediate or long-term, to address the issues of jobless growth or agricultural distress.

I am not predicting anything. Our focus is to bring the national discourse back on real issues. The Left’s position on these issues has been clear. Our effort would be first to oust the BJP and then to bring the poor back to heart of policy-making in India.

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Published on December 31, 2018
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