Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019

KERALA: Rahul’s Candidature from Wayanad: Cong Must Decide its Priority

NS Sajith

THE primary aim of the CPI(M) in the April-May parliamentary election is to defeat the BJP and its allies, and the Congress must decide what its priority is, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a ‘Meet the Press’ event in Thiruvananthapuram on March 31 in response to a question on the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad in Kerala.

In Kerala, traditionally the political contest is between the CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF. The BJP is not a major force in the state. It is for the Congress to consider what message is it giving by fielding its president from a seat in Kerala, in addition to his Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh. When the whole country is saying ‘defeat BJP’, in Kerala, the Congress president is contesting against the LDF. Yechury said that the people of Kerala had shown immense maturity in the past and they will show the maturity again in this election. Nobody thought in 2004 that our claim to form an alternative government will come true. Voters in Kerala voted emphatically for the LDF and it won 18 out of 20 seats. No Congress candidate won in that election. This maturity got stronger in the intervening period. This time, it will be 20 out of 20, Yechury said.

At the event organised by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Yechury said the very idea of a secular democratic republic, laid down in the constitution, is under assault today. We want to stop this assault. We have to safeguard our secular democratic republic and then we have to build on that to create a better India. Our primary task is to ensure defeat of the BJP and its allies, who are responsible for this situation. Our second priority will be to increase the strength of the Left in parliament. Our third priority is the establishment of an alternative secular government and to put pressure on it for a pro-people policy direction as we had exactly done in the first UPA government in 2004. Many of the progressive and pro-people legislations such as rural job scheme MNREGA, right to information, forest land rights, right to food security, and right to education were adopted due to the presence and pressure of Left parties at the centre.

Under the Narendra Modi government, all-round attack on the livelihood of the people is leading to increasing miseries. Farmers are committing suicide due to agrarian crisis. Unemployment is at the highest level. Demonetisation and GST have wreaked havoc in semi-organised and unorganised sectors which give maximum employment opportunities to the people. Communal polarisation efforts have virtually destroyed the communal fabric of our country. Attacks on dalits and Muslims by private armies that cannot happen without the patronage of the BJP governments at the centre and in states, have increased.

Every single institution, the constitution and parliamentary democracy are being undermined by the Narendra Modi government. The 16th Lok Sabha recorded the least number of sittings in the country’s history. Parliament is the only forum that the government is accountable to. If the government is not accountable, MPs will also not be accountable to the people.

Questions are being raised on the independence and impartiality of constitutional institutions such as the CBI, RBI, CVC and the Election Commission under the Modi regime. Through electoral bond, the government is trying to legalise political corruption. Nobody knows which party has got the money. According to the Election Commission website, 95 per cent of electoral bonds have been deposited to the BJP. All these facts show that our secular democratic republic is under threat. Modi claims he is the chowkidar (watchman) of earth as well as outer space. We request him to remain chowkidar of the outer space. The way Modi politicises and divides the fight against terrorism is the thing exactly a terrorist wants.

On a question on opposition alliance, he said the country has never seen a pre-election opposition coalition. Former prime ministers Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh led post-poll coalition governments.

On his first day in the election campaigning trail in Kerala, Yechury addressed three massive public meetings in Thiruvananthapuram district in support of LDF candidates.