Not worried about NCP attending anti-communalism meet: Congress

Congress on Wednesday downplayed the issue of ally NCP taking part in the convention against communalism, which was attended by 17 parties.

PTI| Updated: Oct 30, 2013, 20:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday downplayed the issue of ally NCP taking part in the convention against communalism, which was attended by 17 parties, hoping that their coming together would help counter Narendra Modi and sharpen the political discourse on the secular-communal divide.

The party also dismissed contentions that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s speech at the convention smacked of `regionalism` with Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar stressing that what the JD(U) leader had said should not be compared to utterances by MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

There is a view in the party that, with so many parties flagging the same concern against communalism, people will realise Congress is not the only party attacking Modi, Babbar said.

On questions as to whether the convention could lead to the formation of a Third Front at the cost of Congress, Babbar said, "there are only two ideologies in the country one, which believes in dividing people and the other, which believes in uniting. One, which is secular and the other, which is communal."

He said there was no talk of formation of any Third Front in what was spoken at the convention.

And, responding to a question as to whether the external and inside allies of UPA were about to desert the formation, Babbar cited the examples of Samajwadi Party and NCP saying, "Both parties (SP and NCP) are different.

While the one (SP) supports us from outside, the other (NCP) is a part of our government. It (NCP) is led by a big leader (Sharad Pawar), who has tremendous respect within UPA.

"Our alliance with his party is in Maharashtra and at the Centre. In other states, they fight their political battle separately. His party has its own rights. We have full respect for what they do," Babbar told reporters at an AICC briefing.

Asked whether comments by Kumar about the contribution of people from Bihar in Congress-ruled Delhi would not fan regionalism, as MNS chief Raj Thackeray`s statements allegedly do in Maharashtra, Babbar said, "the entire country gets concerned over the language of Raj Thackeray. Do not compare his words with (Kumar`s) remarks."