CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said today the Gujarat Assembly poll result has shown the need for forming a “broadest platform” of secular and democratic forces with alternative policies to defeat the BJP-RSS “communal jaggernaut”. Only alternative policies can fight against the “neo-liberal and communal onslaught” of the BJP. He said the fight should be between policies and not political leaders. “We can fight only with an alternative policy framework. And that policy alternative is precisely the strength of the Left and the CPI(M). And this election has shown the need of forming a broadest platform of secular forces with alternative policies,” Yechury told a party programme here. Yechury has been vocal about aligning with the Congress and other secular forces. He spoke of “broadest possible platform of secular forces based on alternative policies” as the middle path to take along hardliners within the party who are opposed to aligning with Congress. A senior CPI(M) leader said in 2004 it was on the basis of a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that the Left had extended support to the Congress-led UPA 1 government. “The CMP was nothing but alternative policies on which both the Congress and Left had agreed. So if we propagate alternative policies and other secular forces and parties such as Congress come out in support of those alternative policies, then our party can’t have any reservation in going with them.
When asked by reporters whether the broadest possible agreement on alternative policy is a prelude to chalking out a CMP ahead of the 2019 polls, Yechury said, “The common minimum programme emerged when the need for alternative policy direction was recognised. That process has not yet begun.” “We are the only one talking about it so far. We are saying that without that process you cannot defeat this communal juggernaut.” When asked whether Congress will also be a part of the platform of secular forces, Yechury said it depends on who agrees with the alternative policy framework of the CPI(M). “We have been telling them (Cong) that if they don’t see the writing on the wall, they will have to keep facing what happened in Gujarat,” he said. The CPI(M) leadership, ahead of its next party congress in April, 2018, has been intensely debating the contentious issue of a political understanding with the Congress. The Left party, which decided to maintain equi-distance from both BJP and the Congress in its last party congress in 2015, is likely to take up discussion on framing the draft political resolution. The draft resolution will be debated in the next at the next party congress of the CPI(M) in 2018.
When asked whether there is a need to change the political line adopted by his party, Yechury said only the party congress can discuss it. Though the political line worked out by the CPI(M) in 2015 had precluded having any understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress in the fight against the BJP, the party had allowed state units to review specific political situation before deciding their own tactical line in consonance with the overall understanding. As a result, the West Bengal state unit had entered into a tactical alliance with the Congress for the 2016 Assembly election, which proved disastrous as the Left was relegated to the third position in the state.