Opposition leaders today made a strong pitch for unity among “secular” forces, contending that it was the “need of the country” in order to take on the ruling BJP juggernaut. The leaders termed the upcoming presidential polls as the first “acid test” of such an alliance as they advocated coming together of the parties at national-level. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh cautioned the parties to ensure that the grand alliance does not become “Modi versus all” fight, taking cue from a similar situation during 1971 general polls, wherein a united opposition had targeted then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
“Unity of the progressive forces is need of the country. But at the same time, I would like to convey word of caution. If you do not define the grand alliance properly, the fight will become Modi versus others. Hence, we will have to be alert. This is not a fight of personalities, but of ideologies,” Singh said. He made the remarks during an event organised here to mark 95th birth anniversary of late socialist leader Madhu Limaye. Stating that the country did not need “anti-Congressim”, the senior Congress leader asked the parties to “offer a positive narrative to save democracy from the communal BJP.” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury called for forming such an alliance during the presidential polls to ensure “secular supervision” of the Constitution.
“Do we want communal supervision or secular supervision? The result will have a bearing on the situation in the country. So, it is going to be an acid test. We appeal that secular parties come together,” he said. Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav too expressed similar views, saying the leaders will join hands to “save the country”. CPI leader Atul Kumar Anjaan asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to field a consensual candidate for the presidential polls.
“Or else, the opposition parties will field common candidates for the presidential and vice presidential polls,” he said. The event was also attended by JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi, his NCP counterpart D P Tripathi, CPI national secretary D Raja, BSP’s Sudhindra Bhadoria and others. President Pranab Mukherjee’s term expires on July 24.