Left to set 2014 agenda under 'secular' umbrella
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From Nagaland's Neiphiu Rio to Sikkim's Pawan Kumar Chamling,Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa to JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar, the Left parties are bringing together an assortment of political parties on a common platform — a convention against communalism — in what could be an attempt by the so-called secular camp to project the 2014 elections as a battle to protect secularism, puncturing Narendra Modi's attempt to convert it into a mandate against the Congress.
Sources said Jayalalithaa Monday conveyed to CPM's Sitaram Yechury that senior AIADMK leader M Tampidurai would represent the party at the October 30 convention. Significantly, Jayalalithaa 's confirmation of the AIADMK's participation came close on the heels of her choosing not to meet Modi when the Gujarat Chief Minister was in Chennai last week.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and JVM's Babulal Marandi are set to attend the convention, the brain child of the Left with active involvement of leaders like NCP's D P Tripathi. Presence of Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik is uncertain as he is busy with the cyclone rehabilitation work.
While the stated objective is to forge a platform against communalism, it is seen as first signs of churning in the non-Congress secular camp after the declaration of Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and the Congress declaring the 2014 election as a fight between the Congress and the RSS.
The organising committee — comprising CPM's Sitaram Yechury, JD(U)'s K C Tyagi, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav, CPI's Amarjeet Kaur and intellectuals U R Ananthamurthy, Mallika Sarabhai and Shyam Benegal — has not invited the Congress. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said the attempt is to mobilise all non-Congress secular democratic forces and take a stand against communal activities and it does not mean an election alliance.
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