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.”