Tamil Nadu Chief Minister among a clutch of State leaders invited to anti-communalism convention

 The centrality of Ms. Jayalalithaa to emerging political calculations at the national level as the 2014 general elections come closer was underlined on Sunday by the Left parties seeking to ensure the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s participation in a proposed convention against communalism in New Delhi later this month.  

Although Ms. Jayalalithaa has been on cordial terms with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, she has avoided any public association with him since his elevation. He has visited Tamil Nadu twice in recent weeks, but the two leaders did not meet.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has been engaging with its electoral ally at the national level. CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat met Ms. Jayalalithaa on August 30 in Chennai, following which Mr. Karat said his party and the AIADMK would work together on common issues. She is also said to have conveyed to Mr. Karat that she would not have any pre-poll alliance with the BJP. The CPI(M) State unit has announced its support to the AIADMK in the by-election to the Yercaud Assembly, while rejecting DMK leader M. Karunanidhi’s overtures.  

On Sunday, Mr. Yechury, who was here to participate in the centenary celebrations of Urdu writer Sadaat Hasan Manto, said the objective of the meeting slated for October 30 was to bring together all secular forces. Besides Ms. Jayalalithaa, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal (Secular) leader Deve Gowda, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and many other leaders have been invited.

Mr. Naveen Patnaik, who is busy with cyclone relief work, may not attend the convention. Ms. Jayalalithaa, too, may not personally attend the CPI(M)’s anti-communalism convention, but is likely to depute AIADMK parliamentary leader M. Thambidurai, said Mr. Yechury.

But, for the Left this time, regional considerations will take precedence over national initiatives.

Though the CPI(M) leaders and Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) are keen on inviting Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the CPI state unit in Andhra Pradesh is averse to the idea, as Mr. Reddy opposes Telangana. It has also been decided not to invite Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu.

A senior CPI(M) leader says broad agreements and pre-poll links such as the one with the AIADMK may quickly change after the elections. “There may well be a complete shifting of sands after the Lok Sabha polls and we will not know who will be with whom. We don’t see the emergence of a concrete political formation against the Congress and the BJP even during the Lok Sabha polls. There will be arrangements in every State,” he said.

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