The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu beckons Cong after barb

Calcutta, Feb. 26: Jyoti Basu today said the CPM has no objection if the Congress decides to join other “secular and democratic Opposition parties” in a bid to form a political platform to fight communal forces represented by the BJP.

“We don’t mind the Congress joining forces with us to lead a national movement against the anti-people Centre headed by the BJP,” he said after addressing a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground this afternoon organised by the Left trade unions.

On the dais, however, Basu lashed out at the Congress for joining hands with an “extremist organisation” for the Tripura polls and compromising on communal issues. “I had met Sonia Gandhi in Delhi at a recent get-together and asked her why a traditional party like the Congress was joining hands with an extremist outfit. I even wrote to her, requesting her to break the alliance, but she apparently did not pay heed to my plea. I also met Manmohan Singh and said we consider the Congress a secular party, but it should resort to self-criticism to find out what has gone wrong with it,” he said.

“We are urging not only the Congress, but all other like-minded secular and democratic parties to get united on a broad platform to save the country from the communal forces. This is a golden opportunity to launch a united movement and we must make use of it.”

Coming down heavily on the BJP, he described the party as “a traitor which does not care for the nation”.

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