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Samata finds Gujarat voice

New Delhi, Oct. 30: The Samata Party, which was so far silent on the riots in Gujarat, today directed its state unit to keep a watch on the emerging communal situation in the state and take preventive steps.

Holding its three-day national council meeting at Rajkot, birthplace of iron man Sardar Patel, the Samata said communal riots weakened the country’s resolve to fight terrorism.

Chaired by party president George Fernandes, the meeting adopted a resolution appealing to all parties to work towards communal harmony.

Unlike the communal situation, on disinvestment, there were some discordant notes. Party MPs from Bihar opposed the Centre’s disinvestment policy, saying it would lead to more unemployment and poverty. Prabhunath Singh, an MP from Bihar, told reporters at Rajkot that the “disinvestment policy will only lead to further unemployment and poverty-related problems in the country”.

Raghunath Jha, an MP and Bihar unit chief, demanded that the BJP “sit with all its allies now that three years of governance is over and there are several issues like disinvestment, unemployment and national security, that need to be reviewed and discussed”.

The resolution said “one denomination of religious extremism helps and complements another form of religious extremism” creating artificial division in the society.

Party spokesperson Shambu Shrivastwa said communal harmony is a fundamental tenet of Indian nation and “political and partisan approach will do incalculable harm to the foundation of the republic”. At the time of communal violence, instead of issuing inflammatory statements, the parties should jointly try to cool down tempers and passion and start collective relief and rehabilitation work, he said.

Criticising Narendra Modi’s politicised police and bureaucracy in Gujarat and the Election Commission, the party said: “Constitutional authorities, civil service and police must discharge assigned responsibility to show a picture of unity.”

The spokesperson said the Samata would contest in 48 out of 182 seats in Gujarat. Ruling out any electoral alliance with the BJP in Gujarat, he said: “At the most, some adjustments could be made.” So far no talks were held, he added.

Welcoming the announcement of polls in Gujarat, the Samata has identified 50 seats in Saurashtra, Kutch and central and south Gujarat for contesting the elections.

The national convention began with a firm resolve by party leaders to make its presence felt in the state in the Assembly polls.

Three years of NDA governance and employment generation would be discussed at the convention, Shrivastwa said. The Samata’s internal matters and policies also came up for discussion.

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