Leaders of various political parties came together to take a dig at Gujarat chief minister and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi while calling on ‘secular’ parties to unite in New Delhi.
Fourteen political parties, including the JD (U) and Samajwadi Party, attended a secular convention called by the Left parties at the Talkatora stadium on Wednesday. Imprisoned Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Jan Lokshakti Party (LJP) did not attend the convention.
JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar gave no indication of leading a third front against the Congress-led UPA or the BJP-led NDA alliance, but said that it is important for secular parties to come together.
“There is no third front right now, but there should be an effort to bring in unity. Unity among all secular parties is necessary to defeat fascism,” said Nitish. “The day there will be no democracy, there will not be any India.”
The Bihar chief minister kept up his jibes against Modi, whom he had criticised a day earlier, on Tuesday, by linking him to German dictator Adolf Hitler. The JD (U) had called off an alliance with Modi’s party in June this year.
“There is a need to defeat communal forces and those who want to develop only corporate houses,” said Nitish, referring to the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat and Modi’s personal effort to bring Tata Motors to the state from West Bengal.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat too took a potshot at the BJP leader, saying: “Modi called himself a Hindu nationalist. Can there be a Muslim nationalist, Christian nationalist? There can only be a secular nationalist.”
Karat went a step further when he blamed the RSS for breaking Hindu-Muslim unity. “The RSS’ three-day national conference in Kerala asked Hindus to give birth to more children to counter Muslims. Democratic forces need to come together to defeat communal forces led by RSS,” said Karat.
Referring to the recent communal overtones that have been playing out in Ayodhya and more recently in Muzzafarnagar, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that only the Left parties have been helping the SP-government in the state to take on communal forces. “A communal force, which you all know, is trying to inflame communal passions by holding a one-month long yatra in the name of the Ram temple. We stopped them, but they managed to bring communal riots to Muzzafarnagar,” said Mulayam.