New Delhi: Attacking the Congress, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury Thursday alleged it had a proclivity for peddling “soft Hindutva” and compromising with communalism and said religion should be separated from politics.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Indian Womens Press Club (IWPC) he tore into the government’s demonetisation decision and said ‘notebandi’ would spell doom for the BJP, just like ‘nasbandi’ or vasectomy campaign did for then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
When asked about Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s temple visit and the party’s recent manifesto which promises Gaushalas in each Gram Sabha if the party came to power in Madhya Pradesh, he said, “We have always maintained the Congress has this proclivity for soft Hindutva and compromising with communalism.”
“This has been the history of the Congress and we have always protested against it. When the secular, democratic character of our Constitution is to be upheld, religion should be separated from our government and politics,” Yechury said.
He also said the thousands of farmers, who had converged in the national capital Thursday, were the ‘real India’ and they highlight the livelihood issues that the country was facing.
The CPI(M) leader alleged the present government was ignoring these demands and concentrating on the “communal Hindutva votebank”.
“Notebandi (demonetisation) will do to (PM Narendra) Modi what nasbandi (vasectomy) campaign did to Indira Gandhi,” he said referring to the 1977 elections when the Congress lost power for the first time in independent India.
On the lack of a united opposition against the BJP, Yechury said given the demographic of the country there could never be an “all India” coalition prior to elections and such partnerships would be limited to the states.
“It is the people’s pressure from below that is forcing all the parties to come together to ensure that this government is removed,” he said, adding that Indian political history had shown that there were hardly any pre-poll alliances.
“Even the Congress led United Progressive Alliance came together after the results of 2004 general elections. I am confident that an arrangement will come into place to bring in an alternate secular government,” he said.
Yechury alleged the BJP government was raking up the Ayodhya and Sabarimala issues to polarise the country for votes and said it was the “worse form of votebank politics”.
Countering allegations that the absence of a prime ministerial face against Modi had weakened the opposition, Yechury said that in 2004 also it seemed that there was no one worthy of countering BJP’s Atal Behari Vajpayee, but still he lost.
On the Pakistan government’s invitation to the prime minister for the SAARC meet, which India has dismissed, Yechury said dialogue between the two countries should continue while making terrorism non-negotiable.
“The road for dialogue should always be kept open. This, however, does not mean that we don’t condemn terror. We are saying that terrorism is a non-negotiable issue. It is strictly anti-national. But dialogues should continue, please do not stop it,” he said.
He also claimed the present government had reduced India to a “junior partner of the US” and it had lost its stature as a country with an independent foreign policy.
“Now, this is the first time we find that India has been openly, blatantly aligning as a junior partner of US,” he said, adding that in the last five years the country’s relationships with neighbours like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka had deteriorated.
On the Kartarpur corridor, Yechury said he was hopeful that the move would expand greater people to people exchanges which would be hugely beneficial for both the countries. PTI