The 20th Congress of the CPM in Calicut — the last before the next Lok Sabha election — deliberated on the party’s ideological and political positions with the aim of reclaiming its lost space in national politics. Politburo member and party’s key ideologue Sitaram Yechury explains:
What alliances can the CPM think of at the national level?
Elections are far away. CPM’s priority is to work for a Left democratic alternative, based on alternate policies, primarily economic. But issues related to federalism, social justice etc, are also important.
But you will have to choose between the BJP and Congress finally...?
We want to break that cycle. Both these parties want bipolar politics, forcing others to choose between them. Both follow the same detrimental economic policy and BJP has an extra undesirable factor, communalism. We have had temporary alliances at the state level but what we need is an alliance based on agreed policies.
Regional parties don’t behave any differently when it comes to economic policies.
Yes, we have worked well with them while in opposition, but as soon as they get power, they behave differently. And then we are forced to oppose them also. That is a big challenge. That is why we are emphasising on expanding Left politics first.
So after the party Congress also there is no clarity about CPM’s position at the Centre?
BJP is in no position to replace the Congress as it looks now. We are opposed to its policies of communalism and economics. In 2004, 57 of 61 CPM MPs had defeated Congress in direct contests but still we ended up supporting it at the Centre.
The attempt to industrialise West Bengal has cost you the state. Do you still stand by your conviction that big industrialisation is essential?
First of all, it is over-simplication to suggest that West Bengal was lost only because of the industrialisation drive. The method attempted was one factor, but there were other factors also. The party has not gone back on the thesis that industrialisation is necessary for development, as agriculture sector is saturated. But the implementation of it will have to be careful and methodical, taking the people into confidence.