The reduced numbers of the BJP in the Lok Sabha means Parliament cannot be bulldozed anymore, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

In an interview to PTI, Yechury, when asked about the INDIA bloc leaders — except Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge — skipping the swearing-in ceremony, said most opposition parties did not get any invitation.

“These results constitute a big setback for the BJP and Mr Modi… And the fact that he got sworn in yesterday, the important point you have to note is the fact that he is not sworn in as a BJP Prime Minister. He is sworn in as an NDA Prime Minister,” Yechury said.

“They started this entire election campaign aiming to cross 400. ‘400’ was the slogan that they had given. Eventually they ended up with 240. That is a clean 63 seats less than what they had before, which is more than one-fifth of a fall from their own tally,” he said.

“So third time, third time, which he often says, that is his obsession, to compare himself with Nehru. Nehru’s third time swearing in was on the basis of the Congress party alone. That is not what happened,” Yechury said.

Festive offer

On none of the Opposition INDIA bloc leaders attending the ceremony barring Kharge, he said, “I did not receive an invitation … In all these years of being in politics, leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament are always invited for such occasions. But this didn’t happen this time… That is one aspect.” “The other, overall, is that Modi does not have the moral authority today to actually be sworn in as the Prime Minister with the claim that it is the third time…”.

Yechury said that how the fractured mandate will play out remains to be seen, however, it will be conducive to the people’s will. “Now, how this will turn out in the future that we will have to wait and see. Particularly because the India bloc has done exceedingly well. And they are just 38 short of a majority.

“The parliament cannot be bulldozed like they did in the last 10 years, suspending 150 MPs, things like that,” he said.

“The expectation is that it will be a much stronger voice in defense of our country and the people. The people’s issues will be articulated, and the parliament will be forced to discuss and debate, which it had lost the habit of in the last ten years under this Modi government,” he said.

The Left leader said protests like farmers’ agitation against the farm laws, and anti-CAA-NRC protests had some impact on the election.

“People’s resistance will be there to safeguard our constitution, democracy, civil liberties, and on livelihood issues such as employment, price rise, growing poverty, things like that … Because a major factor in these election results was also the big struggles that took place . The farmer’s struggle… the only thing that forced the Prime Minister to withdraw the agri bills that he got,” he said.

“So these struggles will intensify in defense of India and the Indian people,” he said. Asked if the INDIA bloc in future might stake a claim for government, Yechury said there is a general feeling that Modi does not deserve the PM’s position.

Kharge had following an Opposition meeting post results said the alliance will take “appropriate action at appropriate time.” To which, Yechury said, “There was a general feeling that came up, not only in the INDIA bloc, but also among the people, that Modi does not deserve this position.

“So, they (people) said that there should be an alternate government. But in our constitutional scheme of things, Modi is the leader of the single largest party. And he was also subsequently elected as leader of the largest pre-poll alliance, which is the NDA.

“So, he would be called, naturally, by the President of India. And it’s only when that government has to face the vote of confidence in the parliament, whether it will be able to succeed or not, that will depend on the voting then.
“It is on these occasions when the majority of this government will be tested on the floor of the House. It is on such occasions that appropriate actions will take place,” he said.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP alone won 240 seats and with the help of allies, scraped up 293. The INDIA bloc has 234 MPs in the Lower House.

Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India for a third time on Sunday after being chosen as the Leader of the NDA.