Prakash Karat attacks Congress on Babri Masjid issue, calls secularism of party 'weak'

Mumbai: In an apparent reference to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, senior CPM leader Prakash Karat on Sunday claimed the then PV Narasimha Rao government had decided against stopping the vandalism.

Launching an attack on the Congress, the senior Left leader said the secularism of that party was rather weak.

A file image of CPM leader Prakash Karat. PTI

A file image of CPM leader Prakash Karat. PTI

"The Congress cannot be called a secular party. It professes to be a secular party but its secularism is rather weak. It tends to compromise and vacillates. We know what happened during the Babri masjid....I was there and know exactly what happened in the run-up to that. The Narsimha Rao government decided not to act to stop this vandalism," Karat said at an event here.

"....It's a chequered history. There is still a secular base of the Congress, where it is vacillating (now) and compromising faced with the offensive of the Hindutva forces (sic)," he said.

Replying to a query on the Left parties not putting up one-third number of women candidates in Assembly and general elections, Karat said it was a big struggle and hoped that the BJP government brings a Bill in Parliament on women's reservation.

"As as far as putting up one-third women for elections is concerned, it is because we are not able to do so. We want reservation. We know it is not easy to ensure adequate representation in terms of women candidates even in our party, the Left parties. It's a big struggle. We are trying to do this. But we made a very limited progress," the Communist politician said.

Unless there is a Constitutional requirement, even the Left parties will not put up one third women candidates in polls.

"...Or you will have to wait for another two or three decades before we achieve this. So, we are not prepared to wait for that and we are actively campaigning for the (bill for) one-third reservation (for women) in parliament and legislature should be passed in parliament," the former CPI (M) general secretary said.

He said the BJP was "by the way is committed to bring the bill".

Karat said the BJP in its poll manifestos as well as in the Rajya Sabha had supported the women reservation bill.

Why did the BJP not adopt the bill when it has absolute majority in Lok Sabha now and at a time when the Congress, the principal opposition party, is supporting its passage.

"Many other parties are also for it (the passage of the bill). So the small number of parties that oppose it are insignificant in Lok Sabha. So this is the right time to get this through and we are hoping the government gets this brings back in Parliament and adopts it," Karat said.

The long-pending Women's Reservation bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 under the Congress-led UPA.

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2017 22:55:30 IST

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