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Congress to go all out against Left: Alva
March 06, 2006 18:26 IST
The Congress will fight the Left parties every inch of the way in Kerala and other states, and defeat them in a befitting manner in the next month's assembly elections, party All-India General Secretary Margaret Alva said on Monday.
Inaugurating the General Body Meeting of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee in Kochi, Alva said there was a clear difference between the politics at the Centre and in the states.
"While we will talk to the Left parties at the Centre and convince them about our programmes, in the states, we will fight for every inch. There will be no compromise and we will defeat them in a befitting manner," she said.
Accusing the left parties of rigging successive elections in West Bengal, Alva said the state had been dragged to the dark ages under the Communist rule. "Let them not come to power in Kerala and tamper with the democratic credentials of the state," she said.
Alva also accused Left parties of adopting different standards in Kerala, West Bengal and in Delhi. "I do not know in how many languages they speak. Their language changes with the region," she said.
While opposing the United Progressive Alliance government programmes such as the airport modernisation in Mumbai and Delhi, the Left party government in West Bengal had no qualms about throwing out poor farmers and slum dwellers near Kolkata to make way for a new cyber city, she said.
While the Left front claimed to be pro-people, more than 90 per cent of the rural households in West Bengal had no electricity. There had been nearly 44,000 political murders in the past 29 years of 'Red Rule' in the eastern state. But, no cases were registered as there were Left party unions in the police force, which was unprecedented in the country, she alleged.
Claiming that there was a pro-Congress sentiment in Kerala, especially after the installation of the UPA government at the Centre, Alva exhorted party workers to go all-out to explain to the people the various developmental programmes launched by the governments, both at the Centre and in the state.
Asserting that the AICC was in favour of more tickets being given to women and youth in the coming assembly elections, the Congress General Secretary said these sections formed a vital support base of the party.
"It is unfortunate that while women formed nearly 50 per cent of the electorate and were extensively used for campaigning, they were sidelined during ticket selection."
Citing AICC statistics, Alva said these showed that women candidates had a better winning rate than men. Still, excuses such as age and experience were touted as reasons for denying them tickets. Calling for more representation of the youth also, she said that India was a young nation with more than 60 per cent of the electorate under the age of 45 years.
When the Congress government decided to give 18-year-olds the right to vote, despite opposition from certain quarters, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had asserted that the future belonged to the youth and they had a right to participate in its making, she said.
Significantly, while the Kerala state unit of the Mahila Congress had on Sunday urged party president Sonia Gandhi to give 20 per cent of the tickets to women, the Youth Congress demanded that one-third of the candidates be new faces.
Congress Working Committee member A K Antony, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala also spoke at the inauguration of the general body meeting.
Resolutions on six major areas - political, economic, organisational, external affairs, agriculture, panchayati raj and cooperation and achievements of the United Democratic Front government - were later presented at the meeting. These will be discussed at the KPCC plenary on Tuesday before being passed to form the campaign agenda for the assembly elections