Yechury euphoria in media
From the greatest admirers to avid observers, everyone seems to be aghast at massive positive coverage the new General Secretary of the CPI (M) Sitaram Yechury received in
How can the General Secretary be the darling of the media when his party is unpalatable?
From the greatest admirers to avid observers, everyone seems to be aghast at massive positive coverage the new General Secretary of the CPI (M) Sitaram Yechury received in the so-called national media. The sections of media that have averse to Marxist politics and polemics for the latter’s unambiguous antipathy to free market are also euphoric over the elevation of Yechury. In fact, Marxists can go back to writings of Lenin only to understand the Yechury phenomenon in media.
Lenin said that media eulogises individual leaders of communist party to deride the party itself. Precisely this is what is happening. The media is showering praise on Yechury to denigrate his predecessor Prakash Karat. Interestingly, how can the General Secretary be the darling of the media when his party is unpalatable? It is an illusion to think that Yechury can be different from the CPI (M). He is not heading a party that functions like a proprietary concern.
It may be recalled here that despite the then General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet batting for Jyoti Basu to accept Prime Ministership, the party rejected the idea much to the consternation of media. This epitomises the style of functioning of the party that Yechury heads. It will not be too long for the media to realise this.
But, this feel good factor is not without any reason. The CPI (M) which hogged the headlines of national media during the UPA regime is now facing the worst visibility crisis as its electoral strength is at historic low. Yechury is thus a perfect choice at this point of time in the history of the Left. His persona is an asset to the party in the age of symbolism. His exposure to Parliament, his active intervention during the UPA regime makes him more accessible and acceptable in the age of coalitions.
At a time when the Left desperately needs the middle class, Yechury with his brilliant academic background combined with powerful articulation abilities can help the party connect to these vocal classes better. Though Karat was equally good in academics, he lacked similar skills in interacting with the media and multiplicity of political parties. Yechury cannot unilaterally change the party’s politics and tactics, but he can effectively present them to the people in a more persuasive manner. The media exposed its hollowness in missing the woods for the trees.
The CPI (M) should also come out of its traditional assumptions over media and interact with it more frequently. Yechury will perhaps realise this from his own personal experience. Calling media as capitalist enterprise of exploitation will not help. Indian media with its diversity and plurality offers a large public space. The Left has to acclimatise to the newly emerging world of ideas and the media that carry these ideas across. Modi owes his success largely to his skillful media management.