By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And the chosen man at this critical juncture in the country’s political history is CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
It may sound a cliché. But the fact is it is Yechury’s finest hour. By getting the 22nd Party Congress held at Hyderabad to adopt his political line, which had been rejected by the Central Committee and the Polit Buro earlier, Yechury has achieved the mission impossible in the teeth of adversity and fighting against heavy odds. It was only in the fitness of things that he has been re-elected CPI(M) general secretary – a bitter pill for his detractors in the party to swallow. The man who went to Hyderabad in a weakened state has returned to Delhi, his stature greatly enhanced and his position considerably strengthened.
Yet, instead of openly savouring the moment, Yechury has, rightly, been gracious in his hour of victory. The party has emerged stronger after the Congress, said Yechury, adding that it is now a united party primed to confront the daunting challenges ahead.
It may be mentioned that the official draft backed by the powerful Kerala unit-Prakash Karat axis, had said that the party should unite all secular, democratic forces “without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress”. The amended draft now says that the party can unite all secular and democratic forces ‘without having a political alliance with the Congress’. This vital amendment, which keeps the door open for an electoral understanding, is a signal victory for the CPI(M) boss, ensuring a paradigm shift in opposition politics.
“There can be an understanding with all secular democratic forces, including the Congress, in Parliament on agreed issues. Outside the Parliament, we should cooperate with all secular opposition parties for a broad mobilization of people against communalism.”
The most significant fallout is that the victory of the Yechury line gives him a clear edge over the powerful Kerala lobby hostile to him.
The Yechury victory has, understandably, upset the BJP, which was hoping that the Karat line would succeed. But that was not to be. The BJP will have to reset its political strategy now that a significant step has been taken towards strengthening opposition unity. The BJP now knows that a direct electoral battle with a united and single opposition candidate is very much within the realms of possibility. And 2019 is not 2014, a sea-change in the political situation in the country having taken place thanks to the anti-people and highly divisive political agenda unleashed by the Modi government.
Undoubtedly, the amendment of key sections of the draft political resolution constitutes a big setback to the Kerala lobby led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as well, which has never made secret of its implacable hostility to Yechury. The Kerala unit should realize that the situation obtaining in the state is vastly different from that prevailing at the national level And in other states.
The paramount need is to ensure that there is no split in the anti-BJP vote. That is the only way in which the ouster of the BJP-led Government at the Centre can be achieved. If the Karat line had prevailed, it would have resulted in a dangerous division in the opposition vote with disastrous consequences for the nation. No wonder, the BJP is crest-fallen.
Having said that, it must be stated the task ahead for Yechury is daunting indeed. There are already tell-tale signs that the sailing will not be smooth for him during the next three years. The Kerala lobby is down but not out. It can be trusted to make things difficult for Yechury at every available opportunity. How he overcome these challenges will be watched with anxiety by all secular and democratic forces who want to see the exit of the Modi Government in the 2019 Parliamentary polls. (IPA Service)