People's Democracy

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


No. 14

April 12, 2009


Secular Alternative Gains  Momentum in Orissa

BIJU Janata Dal has announced that it would neither support a Congress-led or BJP-led government at the centre. It would rather support the formation of non-Congress and non-BJP government.

This was announced by the BJD president and Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik at a joint press conference with CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in Bhubaneswar on April 8, 2009. CPI secretariat member D Raja who was also to attend the joint press meet could not make it due to lack of connecting flight.

Yechury in his remarks said that BJD, NCP, CPI and CPI(M) have come together to provide a secular alternative in Orissa and underlined that in many states a number of secular parties are coming together to strengthen the secular alternative.

Responding to questions, he said that like in previous polls, any front will be formed at the centre only after the elections. In this effort, the Left parties and the BJD would make a sincere effort to offer a non-Congress, non-BJP secular alternative at the centre.

On the issue of Prime Ministerial candidate, he said, in our parliamentary democracy people are sovereign and after the election of MPs, the leader of the majority would become the prime minister. What if the prime ministerial candidate is defeated as it happened in the case of Indira Gandhi?, he counterposed.

Sharad Pawar said that the NCP happens to be part of the UPA, but it is coming together with the BJD-led alliance in the context of Orissa. He also expressed his appreciation towards the BJD for breaking ties with the BJP. CPI's national council member, Abani Barul expressed confidence that the third front would emerge, which will be opening a new era in Indian politics.

Naveen Patnaik said how it became difficult for the BJD to continue with the BJP after the violence in Kandhamal. Peace and tolerance is critical to development and the choice in front of the people is between peace and progress under the leadership of a secular alternative or for communal tensions. The Left parties were closely associated with Biju Patnaik during the early 90s and he hoped that a secular alternative would be the mandate that the people of Orissa and the rest of the nation will provide in the ensuing elections.