Having wrecked the economy, BJP is creating a post-truth society: Yechury
The Left and the BJP fought a pitched battle on Delhi’s streets this week, with BJP President Amit Shah constantly targeting the CPI(M) for “political killings” in Kerala and Tripura. The CPI(M) believes one of main reasons for the escalation in the
BJP’s anti-Left rhetoric is the ruling party’s intention to divert attention from the country’s deteriorating economic situation.
In an interview with BusinessLine, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury spoke of the “mess in the economy” and the dangers of the BJP’s civilisational agenda. Edited excerpts:
To what do you attribute the BJP’s sudden sharpening of attack on the Left, especially the CPI(M)?
There are multiple reasons. The first is their plans for entry into the South. They’re targeting Kerala because of its specific demographic. They are trying, very unsuccessfully, to replicate the ‘Gujarat model’ there because of a sizeable Muslim population. They think they can polarise the population on communal lines. The second factor is that they see the Left as a consistent ideological and organisational challenge to their civilisational agenda of turning India from a secular democratic republic to a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
The third reason, of course, has to do with their economic philosophy — what I’d term the ‘Kerala model-versus-the Gujarat model’. In Kerala, the people are at the heart of policy-making which is why the State has matched and even surpassed European countries on HDI performance. This is because of an economic outlook that perceives the basic resource, land for instance, as belonging to those who utilise it — the people. This is in direct contrast with the Gujarat model where land is corporatised and used for maximisation of profit for the industry.
The BJP President’s recent yatra was aimed at projecting Kerala as a basket case where Hindus are threatened and insecure and so on. So, you see, the purpose is manifold. But the people are not buying it, as was clear when Amit Shah had to literally escape from here. That could also be due to his son’s corruption case and not because of a so-called emergency meeting called to discuss the mess they have made of the economy.
OWith the economic crisis deepening, do you see issues of identity, ‘Love Jihad’, triple talaq and Ram Mandir gaining more steam?
I don’t think they ever had a blueprint on how they were going to handle the economy. They are forever tweaking figures to create impressions for electoral reasons. They first tweaked the GDP figures to tom-tom that we have become the fastest-growing economy. It made them look good when the reality was entirely different, and growth in every sector was decelerating. Agrarian distress has sharply deteriorated because they have not invested in any aspect of agriculture and have shamelessly betrayed their main election promise of calculating MSP at 50 per cent over and above the input cost. The government has virtually stopped procuring, has sharply cut down agricultural loans, and investments in MNREGA have come down by half. The net result is that rural demand, which stabilised the Indian economy during the worst years of the world economic crisis, has shrunk.
As regards industry, their whole focus is on making capital readily available. The completely misplaced logic is that the greater access the industrialist has to capital, the greater will be the investment, and hence greater growth and employment. So they have been extremely profligate in disbursing loans to the industrialists, and have ended up with the worst recovery of NPAs. NPA growth has been the highest under this government, ₹11.5 lakh crore is the outstanding amount.
Investment per se cannot lead to growth and employment. Whatever produced has to be consumed. It’s elementary. For the product to be sold, you need a domestic market, and that market is shrinking. We are paying a very heavy price for this. Our industrial side is showing 96 lakh job losses in the last one year.
Do you think this is happening because they lack a vision or are suggesting there is a design?
There is a reason for following this faulty economic direction. If you want an insular polity in India — which is, pushing the RSS agenda — you will require international support. All the Prime Minister’s visits are for eliciting global support for what they do domestically. It also means serving the interests of foreign capital. So the economic direction was to open up the Indian economy to foreign capital in all areas, including defence production, railways, airlines, financial institutions…They are appeasing international finance for garnering support for their domestic political agenda.
But surely, there is resistance to this strategy.
The growing discontent in the form of kisan agitations and trade union protests — even from the [BJP-backed] BMS — is being channelised into political expression. That would mean that this government is in serious trouble. This can only be countered by sharpening communal polarisation and thereby deflecting attention from real issues. Gauraksha samitis, Romeo squads, ‘Love Jihad’, Ram Mandir…All these fake issues are trumped up to shift attention away from the handling of economy and to keep the people and the Opposition divided.
Another dangerous part of their strategy is to undermine all democratic institutions by using a compliant media to constantly caricaturise them. I have never ever seen the Prime Minister answering the questions in Parliament. They do not allow anything other than the Modi-Shah narrative in media. The technique is that you decimate and deligitimise the Opposition so that they stop opposing you or join you, like what happened with Nitish Kumar.
They are creating a posttruth society that doesn’t go by ground realities.