During an interaction with the press on Tuesday, CPI’s (M) Sitaram Yechury said that bad economy did adversely affect BJP’s electoral prospects in Gujarat
Yechury also attacked PM Modi on foreign policy, saying that it has taken a dangerous turn under the current govt. “It is no longer Pakistan that is US’ surrogate in South Asia, but India.”
A decision on Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) potential alliance with Congress will be taken after the conclusion of state elections across the country towards the end of 2018, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Tuesday.
“This is something I can’t tell you now. This is something I could tell you only the situation gets closer. It will also depend on voters. You have this round of elections. Then you have elections in major BJP-ruled states in later part of the year. Then you have Karnataka in between. Only when these things are over will you get a clearer picture,” Yechury said, addressing reporters in New Delhi.
“The point is that we are seeking to build an alternative on alternative and secular brand of politics,” Yechury, a Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal, added.
Yechury dismissed reports that there was a rift in the CPI(M) between former general secretary Prakash Karat and himself. The factionalism in the CPI(M) was in the spotlight during a party politburo meeting in December, when the group led by Karat opposed a proposal to bury the hatchet with Congress, a political rapprochement backed by Yechury and his supporters.
“We are not pro-any party. We are pro-people. The matter (whether to align with Congress) will be taken up at the politburo meeting in Hyderabad in April,” he said.
When asked if he expected any policy shift in Congress under its newly-elected leader Rahul Gandhi, Yechury said, “We will have to wait and see what will be their policy approach. Whether there will be any policy shift at all waits to be seen.”
Criticising the BJP over the handling of the economy, Yechury reckoned that “bad economy” did affect BJP’s electoral prospects during the Gujarat elections.
“The BJP lost 11 percent of its popular vote between 2014 and 2017. The number of seats they won was below 100, when they were claiming that even one seat less than 150 would be taken as defeat. So, it did have an impact,” the Left leader said.
“The problem is that the impact it is having in the country is not getting political benefits in terms of electoral results,” he added.
India the new ‘surrogate’ of the US in South Asia
During a freewheeling discussion with members of the press, Yechury came down heavily on India’s changing foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It is a very distinct and direct shift in our foreign policy towards a pro-US order, which is very detrimental to India’s interests. Now, this is happening in the area of climate change, the WTO accord on agriculture and other international treaties,” he said.
“We are no longer seen as a leader of the developing countries, but a supplicant of USA,” Yechury added.
He highlighted that India’s foreign policy had taken a radical turn over the last three years, which the MP said was “detrimental” to India’s interests.
Yechury noted that the countries of the Indian subcontinent, traditionally seen as India’s backyard, were fast turning away from New Delhi one after another.
“Look at the SAARC countries, which has traditionally been closer to India. Now all of them, with the exception of Bhutan, are fast moving away from India. So, they can’t event maintain cordial relations with our neighbours.”
The Rajya Sabha MP said that India would soon be viewed internationally as America’s surrogate in South Asia, replacing Pakistan.
“What message are you sending to the world when you hold joint naval drills in the South China Sea with Japan and the US? What does India stand to gain from these joint naval exercises?” Yechury asked.
“We are gloating over the fact that the USA has stopped assistance to Pakistan. They are sections in the government that US taking such a step is a victory for India.”
“But then what is the message we are sending. That, it is no longer Pakistan that is US’ surrogate in South Asia, but it is India,” he said.