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’Avoid split of secular votes in Bihar’

Tuesday 24 May 2005

NEW DELHI: The CPI(M) on Monday told Congress that division of votes among secular parties in coming Bihar assembly polls should be avoided and asked LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan to spell out where he stands with regard to alliance.

Veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet conveyed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who called on him here, that a split in the votes among secular parties in the previous assembly elections in the state had benefitted "communal" forces and this should be avoided, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury told reporters.

Asked about LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan, Yechury said it was for the Union Minister to decide where he stands.

"At the Centre, Paswan is with UPA but in Bihar a situation had arisen when "communal" forces were about to form a government with the help of LJP MLAs".

Gandhi met Surjeet, who had undergone a surgery recently, to inquire about his health and the two leaders took the opportunity to discuss the political situation in the country in the backdrop of developments in Bihar, Yechury said.

"Basically, she came to inquire about the health of Surjeet who recently underwent a surgery. Gandhi could not come at that time. Naturally, when they sat down for half an hour, other things were also discussed", Yechury said.

He said Gandhi and Surjeet also exchanged views on the performance of UPA government in its first year in office and Left parties’ stand on this has already been communicated to her as chairperson of UPA.

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