TAMIL NADU

People will reject VHP agenda: CPI (M)

MADURAI, FEB. 26 . The Central Committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), T. K. Rengarajan, today said the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's 11-point `Hindu agenda', which included construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, would be rejected by the electorate in the State.

He told The Hindu here that the CPI (M) was opposed to the construction of the temple at the site, where the Babri Masjid stood, though the countrymen including those in the CPI (M) were not against building the shrine at any other place without disputes.

On the VHP's proposed nation-wide door-to-door campaign in support of its agenda, he said the Sangh Parivar was attempting to spread `misinformation' by claiming that it was championing the cause of Ramayana and Mahabharat. The people would ignore it, as they had understood that "it was not the Hindu agenda but was that of the VHP", he opined.

Asked about the stand taken by the two Dalit parties — Puthia Tamizhagam and Dalit Panthers of India — in the coming Lok Sabha elections, he said the CPI (M) would seek the cooperation of every section of people to work for the success of the Democratic Progressive Alliance led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The party appealed to all secular and democratic-minded electorate to exercise their franchise in favour of the DPA, he added.

To a query, he said though the modalities of the DPA's campaign strategy were not yet finalised, every Lok Sabha constituency would have a coordination committee under the leadership of the DMK. The panel would comprise all partners of the DPA, he pointed out. Winning all 40 Lok Sabha seats in the State and Pondicherry was the goal of the alliance. Despite having separate election manifestos, the partners had the common endeavour of "fighting BJP's communalism, the economic policies of the State and central governments and anti-democratic measures adopted in the State", he claimed.

As far the CPI (M)'s campaign strategy, he said the party would give priority for door-to-door canvassing during which the activists would reach out to the electorate with an appeal issued by the State unit, besides explaining to them the points made in the party's manifesto. The CPI (M) would also project an economic alternative, he said.

On the concessions announced by the State Government to its employees and teachers and farmers, he said the Chief Minister owed an explanation to the public why her Government had acted `undemocratically' then, ignoring the appeals made by the Opposition inside the Assembly and outside and what had compelled it to introduce the changes now so suddenly. The Government was reeling out concessions only to `hoodwink' the electorate, he opined. Even while implementing the second stage of reforms in the State, the Government should have fought for more funds from the Centre, instead of launching an "attack on its employees'', he said.

The `India shines' advertisements would not cut any ice among the electorate, against the backdrop of 300 million countrymen going without two square meals a day and hundreds of children dying of malnutrition-related diseases every day, he said.