By Deepak Sharma
Worried over a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in West Bengal, the CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Friday that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should immediately call an all-party meeting to deal with the remaining phases of polls in state.
“The pandemic has hit hard. It’s a very serious situation. ECI should not shy of calling an all party meeting. Discuss and decide quickly,” said CPI-M chief adding, “Seeing the magnitude of covid spread, you cannot hold rallies, road shows anymore. People’s lives are more important than electoral politics.”
Considered as the prominent left ideologue in the country, Sitaram Yechury said that for the present BJP leadership, winning polls on all costs could be a priority, but for the Left Front and its allies, the lives of people are more precious.
“We have decided not to hold big rallies or huge political functions anymore. We will strictly adhere to the Covid-19 protocols…and we hope the country’s Home Minister, the man in-charge of enforcing such regulations, too abides by such norms. It’s unfortunate that recent road shows of Mr Shah( Home Minister Amit Shah) blatantly flouted Covid protocols in a state which was witness to one of the sharpest rise in coronavirus cases,” CPI-M leader Yechury told IANS in an interview.
Seen as one of the brilliant minds in the current political mainstream, comrade Yechury said that good governance is not about draining its energies and all resources in winning polls, but to address critical issues affecting human lives. ” I am still wondering how this government ignored repeated warnings by the medical experts on the emerging second wave of coronavirus in India. The situation was getting worse, day by day, since last fortnight. The numbers (of cases) swelled every 24 hours. But the BJP leadership seemed more interested in gathering crowds in its election rallies. Now when the situation has reached a critical point, PM Modi has shifted the responsibility of containing the pandemic on the Chief Ministers. I feel this is not the way a responsible government functions in a democracy?” questions Yechury, a topper in economics from JawaharLal Nehru University.
Referring to the misuse of central agencies against political rivals, the CPI-M leader said that during elections, top law enforcing agencies of the country like CBI, ED or IT are deliberately used to harass rivals. “Once the code of conduct has been invoked, the ECI should intervene to prevent such agencies from harassing leaders of opposition parties. We have seen election after election, the BJP government has been targeting rivals by conducting IT or ED raids on them. Instead of preventing such blatant misuse of government agencies, the ECI turns a mute spectator and fails to ensure a level playing field for all parties,” CPI-M General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury said.
When asked whether the Left Front and its allies will support Mamata Banerjee, in case of a hung Assembly in West Bengal, the CPI-M leader said that this question should be put to Mamata. “Earlier Mamata has been a member of the BJP-led government in the Centre. She was one of the torch bearers of the Vajpayee-Advani government. Obviously, she has a better understanding with the BJP. Besides, the manner in which Modi and Mamata have tried to polarise the polls, it seems both are involved in political shadow boxing. The election is not being fought on issues important to people, but both the BJP and Trinamool Congress had stooped too low to communally polarise a state known for its secular credentials,” quipped Sitaram Yechury, who joined CPI-M while studying in JNU during the emergency era in 1975.