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Pawar wants secular forces to forge broadbased unity

Arunkumar Bhatt

Paswan shows up, Lalu stays away from NCP convention Paswan shows up, Lalu stays away from NCP convention


  • Mandate is for unity among secular parties: Pawar
  • Initiative to unite UPA fro Bihar polls
  • Paswan remains mum on unity appeal

    — Photo: Vivek Bendre



    NCP HAT IN THE RING: Nationalist Congress president Sharad Pawar wearing an Assamese cap by the Assam unit at the party convention in Surat on Friday.

    SURAT: The National Congress Party president and Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar's initiative to use his party's national convention here on Friday for forging unity among UPA partners, particularly between the RJD and the LJP for the crucial Bihar poll, did not bear fruit. While RJD leader and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad did not turn up at the convention, his ministerial colleague, Ram Vilas Paswan, attended it and praised Mr. Pawar, calling him the most important pillar of secularism, the "main plank of the UPA." He, however, did not comment on the NCP's appeal for unity for the Bihar polls in its political resolution.

    The bitter relations between Mr. Lalu Prasad and Mr. Paswan are the stumbling block in the UPA unity for Bihar.

    The political resolution said: Had the UPA partners fought the elections against the NDA with mutual understanding among themselves as suggested by the NCP, the UPA could have had comfortable majority in Bihar and Jharkhand...

    Now that Bihar is heading for polls, people expect the UPA leaders who swear by their opposition to communal politics to face the realities and fight the Bihar Assembly elections unitedly and inflict a crushing blow on the NDA... "

    In his welcome address, Mr. Pawar said: "We earnestly appeal to all the secular and progressive forces to unite and act collectively to give a befitting reply to the politics of fundamentalism and communalism so that it never raises its head again."

    Mr. Pawar told the like-minded parties that the mandate of the people for all the secular forces was to forge a broad-based unity and to act in togetherness. But very few leaders from the other parties responded in the same spirit.

    Mr. Pawar had invited all the top leaders of the UPA constituents to the convention as part of his initiative to unite the UPA for the Bihar polls.

    Among the leaders who attended the convention were the CPI's A.B. Bardhan, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Shibu Soren, besides Mr. Pawan. The Congress was represented by party general secretary Mukul Wasnik.

    The CPI (M) sent its Lok Sabha leader, Basudev Acharya. The DMK and Forward Block and the Telengana Rashtra Samiti had sent their representatives too.

    The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, praised Mr. Pawar for his pro-farmer policies.

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