Years after they parted ways bitterly with the Congress, the CPI(M) and the Trinamool will, for the first time, attend the party’s function on Monday as it celebrates Jawaharlal Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary.
A host of other top non-NDA leaders, too, are set to attend Congress’ event that has become a platform against communalism for non-NDA forces. Senior Trinamool leader Saugata Roy said, “We are an offshoot of Congress family. We believe in Nehru’s ideals. In the current political scenario, many ideologies of Nehru are under threat.”
“Pandit Nehru personifies pluralism and secularism. This is about saving our nation from communal, divisive forces,” said Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien. CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury told HT, “People will be going there for Nehru. I do not think there is any other reason.”Even as the Congress stood its ground and did not invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi, drawing sharp criticism from the BJP, sources added that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had personally invited these leaders for two seminars on November 17 and 18.
JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav are expected at the function.
International leaders like former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, ex-President of Ghana John Kufuor, Nelson Mandela’s key aide Ahmed Katherda and Pakistan’s human rights activist Asma Jehangir will participate in two-day long seminar on Inclusive democracy and people’s empowerment and Nehru’s world view and a democratic global order for the 21st century.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee will attend the seminars on Monday. Ironically, this will be the first event which will see Karat-Yechury as well as their arch-rival Banerjee. The West Bengal chief minister, who is facing the BJP heat and looking for a suitable partnership to check the saffron rise in her state may also meet Congress president, said party sources.
While the Congress managed to get estranged partners on board, its oldest ally, NCP chief Sharad Pawar is unlikely to attend.