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CPI(M) counters Congress charge of "communalising foreign policy"

Sunday 9 April 2006

Special Correspondent

Wrong to give `communal’ tag to critics of Government’s `volte face’ on Iran and alliance with the U.S.

Right wing media campaign criticised Left’s campaign drew wide support Opposition on Iran issue, Bush visit `mixed up’ with cartoon row

NEW DELHI: Continuing its attack on the "pro-United States" foreign policy, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the Congress cannot wish away the charge that the United Progressive Alliance Government had gone back on its word of pursuing an independent foreign policy by branding those who oppose it as "communalising foreign policy."

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her letter to workers published in the March issue of party organ Sandesh talked about the opposition to the Government’s strategic tie-up with the U.S. "It is indeed sad that some parties have tried to communalise our foreign policy for short-term electoral gains," she wrote.

"While Sonia Gandhi supporting the Government’s stand on India-U.S. relations is understandable, it is unfortunate that the `communal’ tag is being attributed to those who are opposed to the Government’s volte face on the Iran nuclear issue and are against the strategic alliance with the United States," the CPI (M) party organ People’s Democracy noted in its column captioned `Comment.’

It said that ever since the Left parties opposed the Government’s vote against Iran in the IAEA board meeting in September 2005, "the right wing media has been conducting a campaign that the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party are `communalising’ foreign policy." The Samajwadi Party and the Left jointly organised a massive rally in Lucknow in November 2005, which was followed by a series of public meetings and seminars all over the country.

`Outright falsehoods’

A section of the media such as The Indian Express branded the Lucknow rally as a "Shia rally" and said the Shia clergy were on the stage. "These were outright falsehoods. The campaign for an independent foreign policy drew widespread support and popular response. Faced with this response, even the Prime Minister’s office began briefing the media about the danger of `communalising’ foreign policy. This has found an echo in the Congress leadership," the People’s Democracy article noted.

It said that after the Iran issue, the Danish newspaper cartoons on Prophet Muhammed became an international issue, with big protest rallies organised by Muslims in India from February 2006. While it is true that some fundamentalist elements sought to utilise the issue for their purposes, there was genuine anger against the cartoons. All secular parties, including the Congress, had condemned them. The political campaign conducted by the Left and other secular parties against the Government’s stand on the Iran nuclear issue and subsequently during the Bush visit is intentionally being mixed up with protests by Muslims against the cartoons.

`Widespread misgivings’

"The Government and the Congress should realise that there are widespread misgivings about the overall strategic partnership which the UPA Government has forged with the Bush administration in India. By branding them as `communalising foreign policy’ they cannot wish away the charge that the UPA Government has gone back on the pursuit of an independent foreign policy," it said.

The Congress leadership should ponder over why more people across religions and communities felt the UPA Government’s current pro-American disposition was a betrayal of India’s anti-imperialist and non-aligned traditions.

Imperialist power

The article said as far as the Left was concerned, the U.S. was an imperialist power that oppressed countries and peoples of all faiths. Wherever U.S. imperialism trampled on peoples’ rights and sovereignty, the Left would be resolutely opposed to it.

The CPI (M) will not be deterred by talk of communalisation of foreign policy, which is but a cover for those who cannot justify capitulation to U.S. imperialism, it said.

See online : The Hindu

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