CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Photo: PTI
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Photo: PTI

Sitaram Yechury rules out pan-India opposition alliance before polls

The CPM leader said the party had always supported alliance governments from outside, when asked about the party's likely role in the event of the BJP being ousted from power

Kolkata: Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday ruled out a pan-India alliance of opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections, even as he stressed on the need for seat-sharing among secular regional parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“In my opinion, it is not possible to have a pre-poll national grand alliance in India," Yechury said in Kolkata. At the same time, it is important that regional parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh bury their differences and fight the BJP together, he said.

Similarly, in Bihar, if the Rashtriya Janata Dal and other secular parties come together, the CPM and the Congress are likely to support them in the state, he said. In states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha, regional parties such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Telugu Desam Pary, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Biju Janata Dal will be the “main force", he said.

These parties can come together and form an “alternative government", but the formation of the alliance will happen only after the elections are over, the CPM general secretary said. The focus should now be on “regional understandings" so that in each constituency the strongest candidate can be fielded against the BJP, he said. Like in 1996 and 2004, the alliance will get its name after the elections, said Yechury.

The CPM leader said the party had always supported alliance governments from outside, when asked about the party’s likely role in the event of the BJP being ousted from power.

On Thursday, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had said that she would hold a rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, an iconic venue for political meetings, in the run-up to the 2019 general elections to bring all opposition parties together.

Yechury, however, said that there was no question of the CPM joining that rally, alleging that the Trinamool Congress is a party that has “murdered democracy". Yechury was referring to the wide spread intimidation and violence in this year’s panchayat elections in West Bengal.

The CPM leader slammed Banerjee for yielding ground to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in West Bengal. He said Modi, who is unable to garner the support of farmers elsewhere, is coming to West Bengal to do so as the ruling Trinamool Congress had created a fertile ground for the BJP to expand in the state.

The BJP is not doing anything to find a solution to the problems in Kashmir and will use them to further polarise the nation ahead of the 2019 general elections, Yechury said.

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