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Film-maker Shyam Benegal and social activist Mallika Sarabhai are among personalities who will make their presence felt at the Left-sponsored convention of non-Congress secular parties on October 30.
The convention – which is likely to set the stage for a triangular political contest for the 2014 general elections – will have Bihar chief minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar participating.
Historian Irfan Habib and Kannada writer UR Anantha Murthy - lately in the news for declaring that he would quit the country if Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi ever became the Prime Minister – have also been roped in.
While hints of a JD (U)-Congress tie up have been in the air, Kumar’s last minute decision to attend the convention is indicative that he does not wish to burn bridges with the Third Front forces at a time when the BJP’s influence in the state is being seen as growing.
In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, Kumar’s JD (U) is seen as being pitted against the BJP on the one hand and the RJD/LJP combine on the other.
“There is a conspiracy to disrupt social harmony and polarise voters. Strategies to combat such dangerous trends will be worked out at the convention”, JD (U) spokesman KC Tyagi said.
Including the four Left parties, representatives of ten political parties besides five Chief Ministers will strategise on issues relating to the convention theme: “People’s unity for communal harmony”. “Awareness programs including street plays and joint rallies will be worked out with aims to combat the communal forces”, Tyagi said.
Political big-wigs likely to attend the convention are likely to include Mulayam Singh Yadav. Ram Gopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav (SP), HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Arjun Charan Sethi and Shashi Bhusan Behera (BJD), besides others including Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), AB Bardhan (CPI), Babulal Marandi (JVP) and Sharad Yadav (JD-U).