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Karat nixes Yechury’s plan for Left-Congress alliance

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Karat nixes Yechury’s plan for Left-Congress alliance

By Puneet Nicholas Yadav

Sitaram Yechury offered to resign as Prakash Karat’s Kerala faction derailed his proposal for pre-poll alliance with Congress in run up to 2019 elections

Months after ensuring that he does not get a third term in the Rajya Sabha, the Kerala faction of the CPM led by veteran Prakash Karat, on Sunday, derailed party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s politically pragmatic proposal of entering into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in the run up to the 2019 general election to dent BJP’s chances of retaining power at the Centre.

CPM sources, who were present at Sunday’s central committee meeting held in Kolkata, hinted that Yechury offered to resign from his post after his proposal was comprehensively rejected by his colleagues, arguing that the development would make his position as party general secretary “untenable”.

This is the second major setback for Yechury since July last year when the Prakash Karat-led faction of the party, comprising largely of comrades from the communist party’s Kerala unit and some from Bengal and Tripura, swiftly nixed the possibility of the CPM general secretary being re-nominated to the Rajya Sabha for a third consecutive term. The CPM does not offer any of its members more than two consecutive terms in Rajya Sabha. However, Yechury’s supporters had argued then that given his stature, camaraderie with leaders of other Opposition parties, brilliant oratory and firm grip on socio-political and economic issues of the country, he was the party’s best bet in the Upper House given the prevailing political situation.

If the developments in July had revealed the turmoil within a CPM that is struggling for survival ever since it lost Bengal to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Sunday’smachinations at the central committee meeting further cemented the speculation of factional feuds between the Yechury and Karat camps.

Within the Left front, Yechury has always represented a moderate and politically pragmatic voice.  He is known as a leader who is willing to engage with other ‘secular’ parties on political and economic issues which can help the CPM retain, if not expand, its dwindling support among the masses even if doing so dilutes the party’s more radical agenda. In stark contrast, the Karat-camp, which has Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan as one of its strongest backers, is known for its hardline outlook, one that is willing to sacrifice the party’s political standing in the hope of retaining its ideological identity.

It is this divide that political observers believe has led to the downfall of the Left in the past two decades. The hardliners had prevailed over the party to rob the late Jyoti Basu – then chief minister of Bengal – of the opportunity of becoming the country first Prime Minister from a Left party back in 1997 only because they didn’t favour the idea of the stalwart assuming the high office with the support of the Congress and other secular parties. That decision paved the way for Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP and the NDA coalition to come to power at the Centre. Later, in 2004, while the Left parties did give outside support to the Congress-led UPA government, Karat as general secretary was instrumental in forcing then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to face a trust vote because the CPM didn’t agree with the Centre’s decision of signing the nuclear deal with the US. While the UPA survived the trust vote and managed to retain power – with a greater strength – in the 2009 general elections, the Left was decimated in the years that followed; wiped out of Bengal as well as Kerala. The rout continued in 2014 as the BJP, led by Narendra Modi, stormed to power at the Centre while the Left continued to fight for political survival in its erstwhile bastions.

Now, as the communists struggle to come out of their political wilderness, Yechury has been hoping that a tactical alliance with the Congress could help the party regain lost ground at least in Bengal – a state currently under the firm control of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress but where the BJP is making significant in-roads; eating into the crammed Opposition space occupied by the Left and the Congress.

However, the argument of the Prakash Karat-Pinarayi Vijayan Kerala axis against a potential Left-Congress alliance is one that Yechury and his supporters have not been able to find a reply to. Karat and Vijayan draw their political strength from Kerala, where the Congress is the key rival of the ruling CPM. Karat believes that his party would lose credibility among comrades and supporters if it allies with its principle rival in Kerala at the Centre or in Bengal. Karat’s argument also holds true in Tripura where the incumbent CPM government under Manik Sarkar has hitherto had the Congress as its arch rival. The Tripura scenario may, however, change later this year when the state goes to polls as the BJP is investing heavily to make in-roads in the north-eastern state and is already in talks with smaller regional outfits for a rainbow coalition.

For the Congress, Sunday’s developments are at best a mini-setback. The CPM’s decision to not ally with the Congress won’t affect the Grand Old Party in Kerala where it already has a significant vote-base and strong grassroots leadership. In Bengal the Congress is a marginal player and still has the option of reviving its alliance with the Trinamool to keep itself relevant.

Karat’s decision may help the CPM retain Kerala for now but in the longer run, it could bring the party more harm just as his decision of pulling out of the UPA in 2008 – much against Yechury’s advice – did.

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Chirag Paswan joins BJP aligns against Kanwar Yatra regulation in UP

“We have to fill up this gap between these two classes,” he added.

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Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan has joined a chorus of BJP allies opposing a police advisory in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh asking restaurants or eateries along the Kanwar Yatra route to display the names of their owners.

Paswan said that he felt such steps are nothing but the creation of divisions along caste or religious lines. According to him, society is divided only into two classes “the rich and the poor” where people from all castes and religions are found. “We have to fill up this gap between these two classes,” he added.

“It is the responsibility of every government to work for the poor, and the poor include Dalits, backward classes, upper castes, and Muslims. Whenever this divide comes in the name of caste or religion, I do not think any taught youthful individual, independent of caste or religion, is influenced by such things”.

Another BJP ally, the Janata Dal-United, has also joined the chorus and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw its Muzaffarnagar order. JD(U) leader KC Tyagi pointed out that in Bihar, a much bigger Kanwar Yatra takes place without such restrictions. “The prohibitions in UP go against the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ propounded by the Prime Minister,” Tyagi said on Saturday while demanding withdrawal of the order as no such restrictions are there in Bihar, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand.

The advisory was also slammed by the Chaudhary-led RLD. According to RLD National General Secretary Trilok Tyagi, making nameplates compulsory for vendors is something wrong and illogical. Customers should have the freedom to choose where they want to shop, he said, citing double standards by pointing to no such restriction over alcohol.

He said if religious purity is the concern, then alcohol should also be banned. He made it clear that small shops run by the poor shall not be harassed. In short, Chirag Paswan and other BJP allies have opposed the new arrangements made in the eateries along the Kanwar Yatra route in Uttar Pradesh.

According to them, these would only lead to division of people where some actual problems of the society are not discussed or sorted out. Paswan and others called for bridging gaps between the rich and the poor and ensuring support for all sections of people with no discrimination based on caste or religion.

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Congress slams Rajasthan BJP MLA for his derogatory remarks against Muslims

36 children and 4 begums are wrong.

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Congress MLA Harimohan Sahrma on Wednesday slammed the BJP MLA Balmukundacharya for his derogatory remarks against Muslims saying, the ruling party’s intention is just to target the Muslim Community.

Earlier, the Rajasthan BJP MLA triggered a controversy after he targeted the Muslim community indirectly by saying, 36 children and 4 begums are wrong. According to him, the population control laws are the necessity of the hour.

In a video message shared on a social media platform, the BJP leader could be heard saying there is a huge problem with the increasing population. There is a community which has ‘chhatis bacche and char begum’. There are countless cases where this is wrong. There should be an equal law for everyone; otherwise, how will the country move forward, said BJP MLA.

Asserting that he said there is nothing wrong with population laws. The way the population is increasing, there is a need for more food and housing. This is a hurdle in growth. If we want to become a prosperous and developed country, there should be a collective agreement on this, and population laws should be made which is beneficial for all, he added.

He said that a sister came to his office and said she was the third wife of her husband, and he was going to bring her fourth. He said he advised her that now there is a law against it and she should take the help of the police. The BJP MLA further said that it is not a matter of government or non-government benefits rather the point is that in the country, some families say ’hum do hamare do’, while some say if birth is happening, let it happen as it is God’s will. There is a need to look at this, he asserted.

Earlier on Sunday, Urban Development and Housing Minister Jhabar Singh Kharra said efforts were being made by the Central government to ensure that every household who have more than two or three children will not get the benefits of any government facilities.

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Maharashtra: 4 top leaders quit Ajit Pawar’s party after Lok Sabha election Drubbing, to join Sharad Pawar’s NCP

Ajit Gavahane, Yash Sane, a student leader, and two former corporators, Rahul Bhosale and Pankaj Bhalekar were the leaders who have parted ways from Ajit Pawar’s party.

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In a major setback to Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, four top leaders have resigned from the party in Maharashtra’s Pimpri Chinchwad after a poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha election and are set to join the Sharad Pawar-led party.

President of the Pimpri-Chinchwad unit, Ajit Gavahane, Yash Sane, a student leader, and two former corporators, Rahul Bhosale and Pankaj Bhalekar were the leaders who have parted ways from Ajit Pawar’s party.

Speaking to media, Gavahane said that he resigned from the party on July 16 and today “we will have a meeting with all ex-corporators of another Vidhan Sabha constituency. We will accordingly decide our upcoming strategy. We are going to take blessings of Pawar Sahab (Sharad Pawar). We will make a decision together”, he added.

The decision of leaders from the Ajit fraction comes amid buzz that they might shift their allegiance to the Sharad Pawar party. Earlier, speaking to the media, Sharad Pawar said those who tried to weaken his party would not be taken in, but he would welcome leaders who would not hurt the reputation of the party.

He said that those who wanted to weaken the party would not be taken in. But those leaders who would help strengthen the organization and not hurt the image of the party would be taken in, he added.

The Pawar family split into two political parties after a rebellion by Ajit Pawar against his uncle and NCP founder, Sharad Pawar, in 2023. Sharad Pawar remained in the Opposition camp, while Ajit Pawar joined the Mahayuti government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and was rewarded with the post of his deputy.

Ajit Pawar’s party contested the Lok Sabha elections as part of the BJP-led NDA but only managed to win one seat, Raigad, while his uncle’s party secured eight seats.

 

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