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Sitaram Yechury: ‘TMC, BJP are playing politics… Both gain due to polarisation’

When the Supreme Court directs the CBI to investigate, permission of the state government is not required. So that is not a tenable argument... This does not fall in the category of attack on the right of states.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: February 5, 2019 3:39:54 am
Sitaram Yechury, Mamata Banerjee, BJP, TMC, Narendra Mlodi, Didi vs Modi, West bengal politics, CBI, WB police commissioner, Sharda Scam, India news, Indian Express CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. (Express Photo by Narendra Vaskar)

CPI(M) gen secy Sitaram Yechury tells Manoj CG why they don’t consider this an attack on rights of states:

How does the CPM view the developments in Kolkata?

For more than five years, the BJP government did not move on this entire investigation into the chit fund scam despite Supreme Court’s directions. And during these five years, many of the main figures in the scam have moved to the BJP. So clearly, both BJP and the TMC were sharing the spoils of this loot. Now suddenly, this sort of developments are taking place. The timing and the manner in which it was done smacks of a political motivation. And given the BJP government’s track record in mounting authoritarian assaults on all constitutional institutions and opposition-state governments, this smacks of political motivation. On the other hand, the reaction of the state government which also has its own track record of murder of democracy in Bengal also smacks of political motivation. Our demand is that take action against the people who ensured such a scam, confiscate their properties and return the money to the people who have been looted

The CPM has always taken a strong position on Centre-state relations, federalism etc. Do you think yesterday’s action was an attack on federal structure?

When the Supreme Court directs the CBI to investigate, permission of the state government is not required. It is required in other CBI investigations which are not directed by the judiciary. So that is not a tenable argument. In this particular case, we are asking the BJP why it took five long years for you to implement the Supreme Court’s direction for a CBI investigation. This is in pursuance of an apex court intervention that the larger conspiracy involved in the chit fund scam should be investigated. So this does not fall in the category of attack on the right of states.

You said the actions of both the BJP and the TMC are politically motivated. Are you alleging that the entire episode was a case of match-fixing?

They are playing politics in tandem. They have been doing that in Bengal for a long time. They want to reduce this political contest between the TMC and the BJP. And both gain out of it because of the competitive communal polarisation that both are indulging in.

But the Left stands isolated. Every Opposition leader has spoken to Mamata Banerjee and rallied behind her.

There is no isolation at all. Look at what happened when all the Opposition leaders met today. They went to the Election Commission and only spoke on the EVM and did not say a word on the entire issue. And tomorrow morning, when the Supreme Court hears the matter…let us see what the court says.

But Left has always managed to bring Opposition parties together. Now that role is being played by Mamata. Every Opposition leader attended her rally?

The Left has been the rallying point on issues on the basis of which such rallying will be sustainable. These are all flash in the pan issues. What will all those opposition parties do in elections in Bengal? What is the TDP or the DMK or the NCP in Bengal? The question is how to maximise the pooling of anti-BJP votes state to state. It is not a question of displaying various leaders together. On issues of Centre-state relations, on issues of federalism, on issues of defeating communalism, the Left will continue to play a major role. It is not a question of only display.

You had a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. What did you discuss?

I went to the Parliament after a long time. We ran into each other and just had a conversation. It was not a meeting. We just chatted about general issues.

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