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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri presses alarm on agenda of RSS to build 'Hindu Rashtra'

On Jyoti Basu's death anniversary, Left leaders recall secular ideals

Joyjit Ghosh Calcutta Published 18.01.24, 05:18 AM
Md Salim felicitates Sitaram Yechuri in the presence of Biman Bose at a symposium held on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research in New Town, Calcutta, on Wednesday.

Md Salim felicitates Sitaram Yechuri in the presence of Biman Bose at a symposium held on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research in New Town, Calcutta, on Wednesday. Sanat Kr Sinha

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri said in Calcutta on Wednesday that the agenda of the RSS to build a "Hindu Rashtra" predated Independence and appealed to the country’s secular, democratic political milieu to ensure that the BJP was separated from state power.

Yechuri was speaking at a symposium on “Challenges to safeguard Secular, Democratic, Republic", organised to mark the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research in New Town.

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The event coincided with the 14th death anniversary of Bengal's longest-serving chief minister.

“The kind of India that Jyoti Basu wanted to build is not the kind of India we have at present.... The present challenge is to protect the secular, democratic, republic. The danger did not come due to one person who we have as our Prime Minister. Because of him the danger has manifested at present but the danger has come because of an ideological battle that predates Independence," Yechuri said.

The CPM leader was referring to the RSS and the Muslim League's ideological opposition to the idea of a secular, democratic, republic as they wanted a nation based on religion.

"The debate was on what the character of Independent India would be. The overwhelming view was that given the diversity of the nation, India should be a secular and democratic republic.... Communists, including Jyoti Basu, concurred with the idea of a secular democratic republic but said it should not stop there and move towards socialism... the kind envisaged by Bhagat Singh.... But the twins — the RSS and the Muslim League — wanted a Hindu Rashtra and an Islamic Republic," Yechuri said.

Stressing that the bigotry that has gripped India is not the work of "one Prime Minister" but a goal for the RSS, the CPM leader wanted like-minded political parties and the people to come forward to save the four pillars of the Constitution — secularism, economic independence, sovereignty and federalism.

As India marches towards another Lok Sabha electoral battle and a nationwide frenzy is being whipped up over the January 22 inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Yechuri urged people to do everything possible to "separate the RSS-guided BJP from state power" and "save the secular democratic republic".

Without naming political parties, Yechuri said the fight against the BJP would include opposition to all in the company of the saffron ecosystem.

Speaking after Yechuri, CPM state secretary Md Salim reminded the audience that undermining the freedom struggle was also a part of the RSS agenda.

Though Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan could not turn up at the event for engagements in their respective states, they sent written messages for the event.

Nitish hailed Basu as an inspirational figure and a tall leader of the democratic-socialist tradition. Vijayan recalled the former Bengal chief minister's role in protecting India's democratic institutions.

Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee also sent a note welcoming a research centre in Basu's memory.

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