Slipping on secularism? | india | Hindustan Times
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Slipping on secularism?

IT IS not just about the Iran vote, the airport modernisation or FDI in retail. For the first time since the UPA-Left coordination panel was set up about 20 months back, the Left on Monday made it known to the Congress its dissatisfaction about the latter's handling of political issues.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 16:50 IST

IT IS not just about the Iran vote, the airport modernisation or FDI in retail. For the first time since the UPA-Left coordination panel was set up about 20 months back, the Left on Monday made it known to the Congress its dissatisfaction about the latter's handling of political issues. More specifically, on the Congress's inability to prevent "communal forces" from coming to power in Jharkhand, Bihar and more recently, Karnataka.

The Congress had forged a coalition in 2004 by emphasising the need for secular parties to come together to oust the BJP-NDA from power at the Centre.

After the coordination panel, CPM leader Prakash Karat told reporters: "We gave our views on the current political situation… We tried to point out that in people's perception, the government's image is being affected.'' He did not elaborate on it but ruled out a third alternative in the immediate future.

The Congress, however, has a different take on the issues, including Bihar, where the CPI and the Lok Janshakti set up a parallel secular front.

Until now, the Left's main grouse has been the Centre's handling of economic and foreign policy issues, including airport modernisation, the bidding process, FDI in retail and the controversial Iran vote. These issues also came up at the coordination panel meeting on Monday, with the Left expressing "deep concern" at the manner in which the government ignored them and "went ahead with certain policy decisions".

At the meeting, the Left leaders decided to talk straight when they met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other senior ministers.

Though Karat ruled out a "no-confidence motion" against the government on the Iran issue, he made it clear that the Left will "decide what