Veteran Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan on Monday accused the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forces by playing a role in provoking the minority community in the recent incidents of communal tension in Bihar.
“Bihar saw nearly six to seven incidents of communal riots recently. The BJP is trying to stoke communal tension, but the RJD has also joined hands and is provoking the Muslims in a bid to harm Nitish Kumar,” Mr. Bardhan said at a press conference in Patna.
Communal confrontations should be suppressed by force, he said.
In light of the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Mr. Bardhan stressed on forming an “alternative front” of the Left and non-Congress, non-BJP secular, democratic parties, based on alternate economic policies.
Asked of he would forge an alliance with the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar, the senior CPI leader said there was still time to reach a decision. However, he ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the JD(U) if it joined hands with the Congress.
“The Left, democratic and secular forces should come together and forge regional alliances. We have always said that the JD (U) was a secular party. Their opportunism was only in joining hands with the BJP. They have now renounced their opportunism and severed ties from that party. We are happy, Mr. Kumar finally realised that basically his is a secular party. We voted for him in the Assembly [during the trust vote] to show our appreciation,” Mr. Bardhan said.
He had no objection to Mr. Kumar praising L.K. Advani as a leader. “It is not important who he praises as an individual. The important this is he severed ties with the BJP.”
An anti-Congress, anti-BJP sensibility was not enough for this “new realignment” to work; there was a need for alternative policies and programmes, he said.
CPI general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy said the party was planning to contest 60 to 70 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the party had not reached any decision on regional alliances. Such a national platform of “programme-based” alliances had a strong possibility of staking claim to government at the Centre, he said.
Mr. Reddy expressed concern over the economic and financial situation in the country. “The fall of the rupee is unprecedented. The Finance Minister, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Planning Commission are responsible for this situation. With rising onion and food prices, the fixed income groups are in the doldrums. And there is no discussion on this in the Parliament,” he said.
Terming the increase in gas prices to $8.4 per mmbtu (million British thermal unit) as the “biggest scam” to benefit Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Lid., Mr. Reddy demanded a rollback of the hike to $4.2 per mmbtu.
Addressing a host of issues, such as inflation, food security and most importantly land reforms in Bihar, the CPI will hold a massive rally in Patna on October 25, two-days ahead of Narendra Modi’s rally in the city on October 27.
Mr. Bardhan said riding on the “myth” of being a good administrator, Mr. Modi could perhaps be able to mobilise the BJP cadre, but beyond he would fail to attract.
“He is a divisive character. Why did he have to claim he is a Hindu nationalist? Then, should the Muslims and Christian call themselves, Muslim and Christian nationalists? This is a measure of how he divides people. He claims to have earned 25 per cent of Muslim vote in Gujarat, but he has suppressed Muslims to such an extent that a section of them have voted for him just to survive. Besides the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena, no other party was would join the BJP owing to Mr. Modi’s divisive nature,” he said.
Mr. Bardhan said there was acute discontent against the Congress and the party was sure to lose the Lok Sabha polls 100 per cent.
“There is no possibility of a UPA IIII. The Congress will get out of 110 seats and the BJP won’t go beyond 145.”