‘Jyoti Basu had some issues’:Yechury

Issue Date: Monday, May 25, 2009,THE TELEGRAPH

Excerpts from CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury’s interview to CNN-IBN:

Q: Is it true that Jyoti Basu advised the CPI-M leadership not to break with the UPA?

Yechury: He may have had his opinions within the committees but there is no advice that has come to us.

Q: What opinion did he express in the committees?

Yechury: That I can’t tell you. That is something which even he won’t tell you.

Q: Can I infer that within the committees he expressed a measure of dissent about breaking with the UPA?

Yechury: You see breaking from the UPA was not a one-time decision or which happened one-off. It was a series of developments which were taking place as a result of which it culminated in our withdrawing support. On various steps in this process he had some issues to tell us which he told.

Q: So there were various moments when he expressed his opinion; there were issues he had to speak about which he did speak about.

Yechury: Yes, definitely. Inside the party all of us will give our opinion but once we collectively decide that is our party matter.

Q: Would you therefore say that it was a mistake?

Yechury: The way it was projected was a mistake. I’ll tell you why. The CPI-M always had this opinion, which we still continue to have, that India requires a third political alternative. This third political alternative will have to bring about a shift in the policy trajectory in the country. But that cannot be a cut-and-paste job on the eve of elections.

Q: This was a hastily put together cut-and-paste job?

Yechury: A cut-and-paste job, and to achieve our objective of a third alternative there are no short cuts. It will have to be done through sustained, prolonged, popular structures.

Yechury also admitted that one of the reasons behind the CPM’s drubbing was that the party had lost touch with the ground.

Responding to a statement made by former Uluberia MP Hannan Mollah post his defeat, Yechury told the channel: “Obviously we have lost touch, otherwise this sort of result would not have come. But to what degree, why we lost touch, what were the inadequacies, that is something we are seriously examining… we will have to do serious, self-critical and honest examination.”

Jyoti Basu asks CPI(M) leaders to reach out to people

KOLKATA,24th May: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) patriarch Jyoti Basu has asked senior party leaders to reach out to the people of West Bengal to find out the reason for the party's poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls, his personal aide said. 

"Basu has asked his party leaders, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu to reach out to common people and find out why the people had not voted for the communists in the Lok Sabha elections," Basu's personal assistant Joykrishna Ghosh said. 

"Basu has asked both of them (Bhattacharjee and Basu) to look into the issue seriously. He also instructed them to make people understand the policies of the Left Front (LF) and what they are willing to do for the common people in Bengal," he said. 

Declining to divulge any further details of the talks, Ghosh said that Basu had separate dialogues with Bhattacharjee and Bose at his Salt Lake residence. 

Meanwhile, the CPM leaders also held a state committee meeting here on Sunday to discuss the dismal result of the Left Front in the general elections. 

According to figures available, the Left Front got 43.3 percent of the votes (about 18 million) while the Trinamool Congress and the Congress jointly secured 45.67 percent of the votes (a little over 19 million) in the Lok Sabha polls.

Biman Basu calls on CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu

Kolkata,19th May: CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu on Tuesday called on marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu and briefed him about the Polit Bureau deliberations on the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and Kerala.

The two leaders, according to party sources, discussed in length about the drubbing that the CPI(M) has received at the hands of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

Biman Basu's visit came a day after Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee met Jyoti Basu seeking his advice about strategies to be adopted by the CPI(M) in view of the disastrous poll performance of the party.

Bhattacharjee's meeting with the former chief minister had came in the backdrop of reports that he was mulling stepping down owning moral responsibility for party's poll debacle. The party politburo, however, has dismissed such reports.

Meanwhile, the members of CPI(M) state Secretariat, including the chief minister, met here this evening to review the party's poll performance in the state.

Buddhadeb meets Jyoti Basu

KOLKATA,18th May: West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, called on veteran Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu, at his Salt Lake residence here on Monday even as the Left parties were trying to come to terms with their dismal showing in the State in the Lok Sabha elections. This was the first time the two leaders met since the election results were announced on May 16.

Mr. Bhattacharjee had decided against attending the meeting of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in New Delhi, and instead chose to stay back in the city to oversee the post-poll law and order situation in the State, according to party sources.

Reports of violence have been pouring in from different parts of the State ever since the results were out.

Mr. Bhattacharjee’s meeting with Mr. Basu came amid reports in a section of the media that he had offered to resign as Chief Minister in the wake of the Left Front’s debacle in the State.

The reports were dismissed as baseless by Biman Basu, Secretary of the CPI(M)’s West Bengal State Committee in New Delhi where he had gone to attend the Polit Bureau meeting.

“I can say with authority that the Chief Minister has not spoken of offering to resign; neither did he discuss the matter with Jyoti Basu”, senior leader and secretary of the State Committee of the All India Forward Bloc, Ashok Ghosh told mediapersons.


Basu skips voting after suffering a fall

KOLKATA,13th MAY: CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu, whose advanced age forced him for the first time to stay away from casting his vote, made enquiries about the Third Front from Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat who was in the city to cast her vote.

The nonagenarian leader, who suffered another fall in his bathroom early this morning, wanted to know the prospects of the Third Front alliance. Ms. Karat told The Hindu that she found the senior leader fully alert when she called on him at his Salt Lake residence in the morning. “He wanted to know about the position of the Third Front and what my assessment was. I told him that we will have to wait till May 16 to know the results.” Mr. Basu was also keen to find out the seat-by-seat position in West Bengal, she said.

“I found him very alert and cheerful although he had suffered some pain because of his fall,” Ms. Karat said. West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi also called on Mr. Basu. “He is trying to get over the fall, he is frail but as always extremely alert, and full of humour and wisdom,” he said.

Sources at Mr. Basu’s residence said that he suffered some minor injuries on his shinbone because of the fall. He was examined by his physician, who saw no cause for worry. He was watching TV every now and then to stay abreast of the developments, his close aide said.

Mr. Basu was hospitalised in September 2008 following a head injury he suffered after a fall. Medical tests revealed that he had developed a blood clot in his brain. However, he was released after being kept under observation and medication at the hospital as surgery was not favoured in view of his advanced age.

The party veteran said earlier this week that he would not be able to venture out to exercise his franchise for the first time, during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. His vote lay in the Barasat constituency, where Sudin Chattopadhyaya of the Forward Bloc faces Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of Trinamool, among others.

Right after the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, he regretted that he would not be able to campaign for his party because of his infirm health. Video recordings of his speech were played at some of the elections meetings.

But Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said that it appeared to her that Mr. Basu’s not voting in the final phase was an expression of his “no confidence” in the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Acknowledging that Mr. Basu was unwell, she said this was the first time that he did not vote. “We respect his age. He could have used a wheelchair or gone in an ambulance to vote [had he wanted to],” Ms. Banerjee added.

Mr. Basu, who felt that Ms. Banerjee’s remarks did not warrant a rebuttal, said he had dedicated his entire political life to the party. He hoped that the Left Front candidates would be victorious in the Lok Sabha polls.