His cell phone had 922 congratulatory messages till Monday evening … and counting. Like the good wishes, expectations are high too for new CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. The 62-year-old leader gives Saubhadra Chatterji a peek into the party’s future under his watch.
What is your message to the Congress and non-NDA parties?
Let us all join to safeguard India’s secular, democratic foundation and resist the RSS’s patronage to this government’s communal agenda. We are not talking about electoral alliances or any pact with the Left parties. We are not seeking their support to secure our future. We appeal to the Congress and other parties to come together on different issues to secure the future of this country. We will be friendly with like-minded parties but will not compromise on our policies.
Are you averse to poll pacts because you lose your voter base in the long run?
That is one part of it. The other is that any alliance can take place only when the internal strength of the participating parties gets reflected. We had alliance government in Kerala and West Bengal based on our strength. That’s why our main task is to revitalise our organisation and make our party more influential. It is an uphill task but our party has risen from difficult situation.
Can the Opposition stick together on the land bill?
This bill is bad for the country’s economic situation. Earlier, we had seen some parties changing their stand for reasons known best to them. But on the land bill, we have to understand that our annadata or farmers’ future is at stake.
The government did not hold any wide consultation with the Opposition to build consensus. If they wanted to, they would have called an all-party meeting. There can’t be any private deal-making in a democracy. This government is interested in helping certain industrialists and 50% of land acquired for SEZ is still lying vacant.
Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said many farmers’ children do not want to remain farmers. Do you agree?
Who told him that? He should not ty to give fanciful ideas to hide facts. Why farmers are still committing suicides in the country?
Some Left observers are hopeful about a CPM-CPI merger.
A merger can’t happen just by shaking hands with my CPI counterpart. It can only happen on an ideological platform and through struggles from the grassroots level. A merger is not in our immediate agenda.
Next year around this time, you would be campaigning in West Bengal. Is that your acid test?
Certainly, West Bengal elections will be a crucial test. We have to first arrest the decline and then reverse our decline. For that, we have to first resist the deadly physical attacks by the Trinamool.