Secular India being transformed into Hindu Rashtra: Yechury

Poornima Joshi AM Jigeesh | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on May 18, 2016

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the CPI(M),

For the Parliamentary Left, the last two years of Narendra Modi-led BJP’s reign signifies a shift in the national discourse towards polarisation of society on communal lines and decimation of the welfare state idea to accommodate the needs of the foreign capital. In an interview to BusinessLine, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the CPI(M), said the motive behind the Centre’s drive to “wantonly” please global capital is not the betterment of the Indian economy but to seek international sanction for the BJP’s dangerous and divisive domestic agenda. Excerpts:

What distinguishes this government from its predecessor?

There has been a structured shift in the national discourse in the last two years. These retrograde tendencies were curbed when the Left-backed UPA I was in office. UPA I concentrated on devising policies that reflected a mature democracy by extending the rights enshrined in the Constitution to those on the margins.

For instance, Right to Employment is not a fundamental right. But the process of extension came through MNREGA. The Right to Information, not a fundamental right, was extended to facilitate easy access to information. Tribals’ right over forest produce, again not a fundamental right, was extended. The Right to Food was extended, as was the Right to Education.

What you’re seeing now is the reversal of this process. The effort of this Government has been to transform the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic into the RSS’s vision of a fascistic Hindu Rashtra. Everything else — the attacks on the content of education, on the universities with a progressive character, on minorities, the effort to replace Indian history with Indian mythology, Indian philosophy with the study of Hindu theology — fits into the overall character of the present regime and its effort to push the secular, liberal Indian democracy towards a Hindu Rashtra.

To sum up, UPA I worked towards extending democracy and Constitutional rights; the present regime is engaged in curbing them to impose its sectarian agenda on the entire country.

They say the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha is obstructionist...

The supremacy of the Legislature is being tested by their subversive agenda. The land acquisition law was sought to be diluted by bringing three ordinances. When all of them failed, they told the States they can proceed in accordance with their own laws because land is a Concurrent subject. States are implementing their laws in conflict with the central law,undermining the legislative process.

Secondly, whichever legislation encounters opposition in the Rajya Sabha, it is being sought to be declared a Money Bill. Aadhaar is now a Money Bill, a move that is being challenged in the courts. Thirdly, there is the subterfuge of amending standalone lawssuch as the RBI Act through the Finance Bill.

On the GST… (Narendra) Modi refused to accept it for six years. We have been demanding for the last two years that an all-party meeting be called. Parliament is not a forum for match-fixing between the Congress and the BJP. They have abandoned the process of evolving a consensus. This is the arrogance of this government.

How do you see policy being framed on the stated agenda of Achhe Din and good governance?

Let us examine the actual position on the stated agenda with all its trumped-up slogans — Achhe Din, Make in India, Stand-up India, Digital India... They promised two crore jobs every year. The Labour Bureau says jobs were created for less than 1 per cent of India’s unemployed, that is, 1.35 lakh in 2015.

For the 17th month in a row, exports have fallen. In terms of value, exports have come down to $261.13 billion from $461.5 billion when Modi took over. Manufacturing contracted to -1.2 per cent this March. For the whole of this year, manufacturing grew 2 per cent. The Index of Industrial Production grew at 4 per cent. In 2013-14, it was 4.8 per cent. Our core sector growth is now at 2.7 per cent from what was more than 5 per cent between 2011 and 2014. Investment proposals in 2014-15 fell by over 23 per cent. The first quarter of 2016 has seen investment proposals of ₹60,130 crore. It was ₹3.11-lakh crore earlier. Agriculture growth is 1.1 per cent as drought, water shortage ravage the country. Farmer suicides have increased. Where are the job opportunities?

There’s a lot of global buzz about the government’s reforms…

That is because the character of this regime is to appease, and constantly succumb to, the pressures of international finance capital. The PM’s foreign tours are designed to facilitate foreign capital’s access to India. The BJP has opened up everything, including Defence, for maximising profits of foreign capital. That it is ruining domestic capital is of secondary importance to them. Their objective is to get global sanction for their main domestic agenda which is the transformation of a secular democratic into their concept of a Hindu Rashtra.

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Published on May 18, 2016
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