People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 17

April 23, 2006

‘Take A Principled Position’
Karat Writes To Deve Gowda


Following is the text of the letter written by CPIM general secretary Prakash Karat to Janata Dal (Secular) president and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on April 10, 2006


I AM in receipt of your letter of February 23, 2006 which was delivered late to me. Due to the preoccupation with the elections in the four states, I was also unable to reply to you earlier.


You are well aware that our Party leadership has always maintained close relations with you and have tackled many political situations keeping in mind the necessity to defend secularism while at the same time working towards providing a third alternative in the country.


We had respected you for the role you played when you were the prime minister in the United Front government and subsequently when you refused to join hands with the BJP. But now you seem to have resiled from this position.


The press statement that you have enclosed contains various uncalled for remarks about the role of the Left parties. I am afraid these are being cited only to justify the present predicament you are in. Both when the United Front government was formed in 1996 and when the coalition government was formed in Karnataka in 2004, you had correctly decided that the main task is to keep away the communal forces from coming to power at the centre in 1996 and in Karnataka in 2004.


Your cooperating with the Congress party on both occasions cannot be termed as opportunist politics. But I am surprised to see that you consider our stand in Tamilnadu of cooperation with the DMK-led alliance as politics of opportunism. 


The recent episode of the bulk of the JD(S) MLAs joining hands with the BJP to form a government in Karnataka is a setback both for you and for the secular forces. However, in your press statement there is no forthright condemnation of the formation of a government in Karnataka with the BJP. While you may have legitimate complaints regarding the behaviour of the Congress towards you, that cannot be allowed to overlook the danger posed by a communal party like the BJP being part of the government in Karnataka for the first time.


We had expected that as a senior and respected leader who has worked for the unity of the democratic, secular and Left forces in the country you would take a clear cut position opposing this opportunist gang-up in Karnataka by a section of the party led by your son Kumaraswamy. However painful the present situation may be and the helplessness you may feel, I would urge you to take a firm and principled position which alone can protect secular and democratic values and the interests of the people of Karnataka.