Modi's refusal for a Rafale JPC an admission of guilt: Yehcury

by Shemin Joy

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is one of the prominent Opposition leaders, who is part of the efforts to form a single platform to take on Narendra Modi-led BJP. He believes NDA is facing a credibility crisis and Rafale could be its Bofors moment. However, he warns Opposition that there is no point in parties coming together if they are doing it without a political narrative based on programmes. Yechury spoke to DH's Shemin Joy

Modi government is facing a series of allegations ranging from Rafale to interference in CBI. Does the final leg of Modi's regime resemble the later years of UPA-2?

I would say the degree of corruption and the substantive amounts involved are far bigger than the accusations and instances during the UPA. It is not only corruption but this government is also guilty of endangering the social fabric of the country through poisonous communal polarisation. Further, it is guilty of undermining almost every Constitutional authority of our Parliamentary democracy. The atmosphere of hate and intolerance is leading to the worst form of violence that we have not witnessed since India's partition. All this together make it a much worse situation than the UPA-2.

Many feel that the Rafale controversy is hitting the Modi government hard and several draw a Bofors analogy. What is your take?

Of course, it is the Bofors moment for Modi government. Accompanied by the facts I mentioned above, this is worse than the Bofors moment. On Bofors, we eventually managed to make Congress constitute a JPC. This government has refused to do so, which in itself is an admission of guilt.

Are you suggesting that the BJP government is facing a credibility crisis?

Objectively seen, it is. First is the complete betrayal of the election promises that it made. Not a single one of them have been fulfilled. Further its credibility as a manager of Indian economy has hit the rock bottom. Demonetisation, GST implementation, knee-jerk reactions on economic matters have all led to an economic slowdown and growing miseries on people. Thirdly, its record as the upholder, protector and the implementer of the Indian Constitution, its values and citizens' rights, is abysmal.

There is a section that believes that there is no credible opposition face to take on Modi. How do you respond?

This is not what people feel but this is what the BJP propagates. The same question was posed when A B Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. Who is there to take on Vajpayee? What happened in the 2004 elections? Did anybody think that Manmohan Singh will be the Prime Minister? So there is no problem with this. The issue is that the BJP is trying to build a perception. They are trying to build a personality cult around Modi.

Opposition parties complain that Congress is showing one-upmanship. What is your message to Congress?

The Congress will gain in my opinion if it appears to be accommodating. But its nature is such that it wants to dominate, which is counterproductive if the objective is for maximising the anti-BJP vote.

The Assembly elections are seen as a test dose of opposition unity. But there is more disunity than unity in the Opposition ranks. Has this affected the narrative on taking on Modi?

The narrative against Modi has to be on issues. Merely saying that we are coming together to defeat BJP does not help. Secondly, the electoral unity or parties coming together necessarily has to be state specific. State-specific alliances will ultimately result in an all-India formation which will form the alternative government. This has precisely happened earlier, especially in 1996 and 2004. Also, the BJP and RSS are spending a lot of money to ensure that there is a third front in these states so that the anti-BJP votes are split.