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Building up of ‘Modi persona’ is reason for CPI(M)’s drubbing, says Sitaram Yechury

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury offers to resign for election debacle, but Polit Bureau rejects suggestion

May 27, 2019 05:48 pm | Updated 09:35 pm IST - New Delhi

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has reportedly offered to take responsibility for the party’s debacle in the recent Lok Sabha poll and hinted that he was even willing to step down.

According to sources, he told the party’s Polit Bureau meeting that while it was true that the party was run by collective leadership, the responsibility lay with him as the first among equals and he was willing to give up the post of general secretary. But the PB unanimously brushed aside the suggestion.

On the Kerala results, the only State where a CPI (M)-led government is in power, the severe erosion in vote share and seats was most shocking. The party got only one seat in the State.

The PB concluded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan government’s stand on the Sabarimala controversy was correct, but the party did not sense in time that the BJP was using the issue as an effective political tool.

Divergent stand on Cong.

The PB did not agree with the Kerala unit’s analysis that there was a minority consolidation against the CPI(M). “The elections in Kerala were primarily anti-Modi and the electorate felt that the Congress is better placed to counter the BJP,” a PB member said.

The PB did agree with the Kerala Secretariat’s contention that the party’s divergent stand on the Congress in the State and at the national level had an effect on the voters.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day meeting, Mr. Yechury said the BJP had successfully managed to shift the popular narrative away from livelihood issues. “The BJP changed the narrative from jobs and livelihood to Pulwama and Balakot around Modi. The narrative built around communal nationalist jingoism, along with the issues of fighting terrorism, brushed aside all other issues of day-to-day concern to the people,” he said. Because of this, the BJP managed to get more than 50% of the votes in 200 seats. The Opposition failed to counter this narrative.

The nationalistic fervour was further amplified by building up the Modi persona using multiple tools. “These included the effective use of technology and its instruments of messaging to the people, backed by big data analytics and micro level social engineering,” Mr. Yechury said.

He alleged that the Election Commission also had a critical role to play in the BJP’s win.

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