Bengal Polls: Abhishek Singhvi snubs Anand Sharma over ISF issue
New Delhi, Mar 02: The Congress on Tuesday asserted that its alliance in West Bengal is a "secular front" formed to fight the BJP and urged everyone in the party to join it unconditionally, in an apparent snub to its senior leader Anand Sharma who had criticised the tie-up with the Indian Secular Front (ISF).
Sharma had on Monday slammed the party''s alliance with the ISF of Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui, saying it was against the "Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism" which forms the Congress'' soul and the party cannot be selective in fighting the "communalists".
Asked about Sharma''s criticism, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi attacked the BJP, alleging it was creating "false propaganda" by dubbing its political opponents as communal and claiming itself to be secular.
"The whole idea is this larger front in Bengal was to create as far as possible a good political fight against BJP''s particularly vitiated brand of politics and therefore each one us, each one of my senior, respected and valued colleagues, should join wholeheartedly and unconditionally in that fight together to combat this false propaganda of the BJP," he told reporters.
He said one of the parties of that front - the CPM - has decided to give seats out of its quota to ISF.
Sharma had on Monday sought clarification from West Bengal PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for sharing the stage with the ISF leader at a rally in Kolkata.
The former union minister and a leader of the group of 23 which had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding organisational overhaul, said the issue of "alliance" with a radical party like the ISF should have been discussed and approved by the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Hitting back at Sharma, Chowdhury said he does not understand the ground realities and the front has been formed to defeat the BJP''s communal and divisive politics.
"Would urge a select group of distinguished Congressmen to rise above always seeking personal comfort spots and stop wasting time singing praises of PM," he tweeted.
"They owe a duty to strengthen the Party and not undermine the tree that nurtured them," he said.
"Know ur facts Anand Sharma ji, CPI(M) led Left Front is leading the secular alliance in West Bengal of which Congress is an integral part. We are determined to defeat the BJP''s communal and divisive politics and an autocratic regime," he said on Twitter.
He said the Congress has already got its full share of seats and the Left Front is allocating seats from its share to the newly formed ISF.
"Your choice to call the decision of CPM-led front ''communal'' is only serving the polarising agenda of BJP.
"Those who are committed to fighting the BJP''s venomous communalism should support the Congress and campaign for the party in five states rather than attempting to undermine the party by remarks in tune with BJP''s agenda," Chowdhury also said.
Party leader Jiytin Prasad also said that alliance decisions are taken keeping in mind the best interests of the party and the workers.
"Now is the time for everyone to join hands and work towards strengthening the prospects of the Congress in the poll bound states," he said.
Sharma on Tuesday maintained that they have concerns and what they are saying should be understood in the right context.
"We want to strengthen the Congress and see it united. We do not want anything that could weaken the party," he said.
Asked about the Congress'' position on the war of words within the party, Singhvi said the PCC chief has already clarified his position.
"This is a propaganda by BJP which, despite the absolute ''goonda level of politics'' practiced by it, repeatedly claims itself as the true shining secular party and makes a joke by accusing others of communalism," he alleged.
The BJP also hit out at the Congress over its alliances in different states, saying they are solely aimed at maintaining the Gandhi family''s relevance.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress has tied up with a "maulana''s party" (Indian Secular Front) and the Left in West Bengal, while it is fighting the Left in Kerala.
The opposition party is also working to strike an alliance with Badruddin Ajmal''s AIDUF in Assam and has joined hands with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, he noted.
"It (the Congress) has no ideology. Its only ideology is corruption and nepotism and to come to power anyhow," he said.
Such alliances highlight the Congress'' "doublespeak and utmost hypocrisy", he said at a press conference.
Singhvi did not answer queries on Patra''s allegations.