People want change; results a lesson for Oppn, too

People want change; results a lesson for Oppn, too

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Reflection of people's growing anger and discontent over their ruined lives
Yogi Adityanath was BJP's chief campaigner but it did not make an impact

The Assembly election results have brought cheer to the Opposition camp. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, a prominent Opposition leader, spoke to DH's Shemin Joy on the results, its impact on the Modi-led BJP and Opposition unity.

How do you decipher the Assembly results?

This is the reflection of people's growing anger and discontent over the ruination of their lives, thanks to the policies of BJP-led central and state governments. Instead of providing relief to farmers, youths, women and workers, people have seen resources of the country are being looted under BJP rule. Instead of addressing people's issues, the BJP-RSS are trying to whip up communal polarisation as well as rising attacks on Dalits and Muslims in order to consolidate the Hindutva-communal vote bank. This has not been accepted by people. These three factors put together, the task of the new governments in these states will be to change the policies in a direction that will address people's concerns and provide them relief.

The Opposition unity is in the making. What lessons you have learnt ahead of Lok Sabha elections?

Clearly, the results tell us that there is discontent among people. Those are the issues that the Opposition have to pick up. Therefore, the emphasis must be on alternative pro-people policies. That is what the people are responding to.

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh witnessed agrarian distress but the results were a close call. What are the reasons?

That is because there were lot of rebels, there were a large number of candidates. It became a multi-cornered fight.

In 2003, the BJP won the Assembly elections but lost the subsequent Lok Sabha elections. Is the Opposition fearing a repeat?

The Indian voter is very mature. He knows the priorities for the state elections and Lok Sabha elections. But here the point is, it can be very well opposite to what happened in 2003 and 2004. Here the point is clear. It is people's clear rejection of the burdens that this government had imposed on them. Therefore, this rejection is that of both central and state governments policies. This trend is unlikely to get reversed.

What will be BJP's plank now? Do you fear a frenzied campaign on Ram Mandir?

That is the only card, they think, they have. That is to further sharpen communal polarisation. But in my opinion that is not going to help. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was their chief campaigner this time addressing more rallies than Modi himself. That did not make any impact. In fact, it was reflected in this result.

So you feel this is a morale booster for the Opposition?

More than a morale booster, I see this as a lesson for the Opposition. People are expecting change in policies. That is the lesson that must be drawn by the Opposition parties. They should increasingly talk of alternative pro-people policies.