The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Left holds temple fire

New Delhi, Sept. 26: Left parties have given chief minister Narendra Modi a breather by refusing to link the role of the Gujarat government with the storming of the Swaminarayan temple.

The CPM, the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party met briefly today to discuss the situation and decided to observe October 2 as a day of communal harmony.

The meeting was over soon. “There was no discussion in detail on the Gujarat situation,” said a Left leader. “We just decided to observe October 2 as a day of communal harmony.”

Unlike the Yadav duo — Mulayam Singh Yadav and Laloo Prasad Yadav — who have attacked both the Centre and the state government for their failure, the Congress and the Left have decided not to point a finger at the ruling dispensations.

One reason, sources said, could be that the Opposition does not want to face the flak it had last time after the violence in Gujarat when the BJP had accused them of not protesting against the Godhra killings. This was even after the Congress had condemned the attack.

This time, the parties are not willing to raise the pitch of their protest against the governments at this point when the nation’s attention is riveted on the storming of the temple.

At today’s meeting, one of the Left parties raised the issue of the governments’ failure but others felt this was not the “right time” to talk about the role of ruling parties. The Congress, too, is of the same opinion.

Before the attack, the CPM had planned to petition President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and urge him to slap criminal charges on Modi for making communally inflammatory speeches during his Gaurav Yatra. After the attack, Opposition leaders kept their appointment with the President but dropped Gujarat from the memorandum.

Instead, they concentrated on the Babri Masjid chargesheet and asked the President to intervene in the case that involves L.K. Advani, human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi and coal minister Uma Bharti.

As of now, the Congress and the Left are walking in tandem, working out their strategies together. However, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam is going it alone. Before the Congress and the Left met the President, Mulayam met him separately on the same issue of the Ayodhya chargesheet.

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