Party only leads Pinarayi Govt, not vice versa: Sitaram Yechury

KA Johny

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CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury rules out the allegation that the Kerala unit of CPM is under the grip of its leader Pinarayi Vijayan. He rejects the critique that Pinarayi has emerged as the one and only face of CPM in the state. Excerpts from the interview that Mathrubhumi had with the General Secretary on the last day of the state conference of the party at Kochi.

Sitaram Yechury | Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

You have made it clear that private investment can't be blocked by a state alone. The law of the land permits private investment. It is in this context that the vision document for a new Kerala presented by CM Pinarayi Vijayan speaks of private investment in the higher education sector. And when privatisation takes place in the higher education sector there is a fear that social justice will be compromised. You have mooted social control to ensure social justice. But there is a counter argument that what is needed is not social control but constitutional control because only that makes it enforceable. What is your take on this?

It is right that only a law can enforce social justice. We are precisely planning this. The body that will be in charge of social control will recommend the formation of the appropriate law through which social justice could be delivered. The law will be enacted by the Govt. But it will be monitored and guided by social control. This is necessary in order to deliver justice in the areas of fees, syllabus and salary structure of the teachers.

You have pointed out that private investors come with their eyes on profit. If it is so will there be any takers for a scheme that makes social justice mandatory?

The investors must realise the reality. Look at the condition of many of the private educational institutions. It is a fact that if education becomes pure business, it won't be profitable. Most of the seats will go vacant. Ensuring social justice is a commitment to society. Nobody can keep away from that.

Can we term this state conference historical? Because the vision document presented by the Kerala CM does make a paradigm shift in terms of the party policy?

No. I can't agree with this perspective. The vision document is not in conflict with the party policy. In fact, it is based on the party programme only. It is a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions of the present day. It is Marxian methodology to read the writings on the wall rightly.

There is already an allegation that the Kerala unit of CPM is led by the Pinarayi Govt instead of the party leading the government. Don't you think that this is justified by the act of the CM who presented such an important document instead of the party secretary?

CM Pinarayi Vijayan is a polit bureau member of our party. He is CM because he is a polit bureau member. The Polit Bureau is the party's highest decision-making body. It is the party congress, not the government, that will take the final decision on this document. Then it will be discussed in the Left Front. It will be implemented by the government only after due consideration of the different opinions that emerge in the Left Front.

There has been an observation that CPM turned the last Kerala assembly elections into a presidential mode of election. What is your take?

How can you call it the presidential mode of election? Presidential election demands at least two equally competent leaders fighting it out. There was no such scenario in Kerala.

CPM had only one leader. And the party faced the elections projecting that sole leader?

That is not our fault. Where was the opposition? Why couldn't it present a competent leader?

So, You blame it upon the opposition?

I am not blaming anybody. it is just a fact.

And only one leader was given exemption when the new ministry was formed?

That was the understanding within the party.

That is why it is to be pointed out that the party has only one voice and face in Kerala?

It is a totally baseless argument. This is the problem with the media in Kerala. They are always looking for something controversial. And I am not going to oblige you with this.

How do you look at the post-Pinarayi scenario? Where is that second line of leadership within the party who can lead the party from the front?

This question was asked after P Krishna Pillai, AKG, EMS and Nayanar. Media also asked who would lead after VS? But the party has answered and a very effective leadership always emerged. So we are not perturbed by the question on the post-Pinarayi scenario. We will bring in new faces to lead the party. Just wait till the party congress is over. Dalits and women will have just and fair participation in the leadership lines of the party.

Dissents and disagreements form the foundation of a party in a democracy. But CPM quite often terms these disagreements as factionalism. Isn't it a negation of the robust democratic system of values?

We don't term disagreements as factionalism.

In 1985 when Kochi hosted the party state meet last, M V Raghavan was charged with factionalism when he presented the alternate document, which was the result of ideological difference?

MVR was not expelled because of presenting the alternate document. He was removed from the party when he went ahead with a policy that was rejected by the party.

VS is not participating in this meet due to health issues. It is a known fact that VS is a source of inspiration for you. What exactly attracts you towards VS?

He is an inspiration not only for me but the whole party. His steadfast commitment to the cause is the most prominent feature that inspires us. Recall how he has come up in life. His whole life has been a constant struggle for him. His courage to fight for what he believes is exemplary. No enemy could defeat him. At the same time, he has always been ready to accept the democratic centralism of the party.

Don't you feel the vacuum created by the absence of VS in this meeting? Will the party be able to fill this gap?

It is true that there is a vacuum. That is the case with all great leaders. But the party can hopefully fill this too. At the same time, the influence of VS will be there on the party forever.

But this state meet seems to have forgotten him?

Not at all! He is very much here. I can do nothing if you fail to notice that.

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