Popular Front seeks consolidation of secular votes in forthcoming Assembly elections

The meeting of National Executive Council of Popular Front of India urged all secular political parties and people at large to consolidate the positive polarization taking place in the country against anti-people fascist-fanatic forces in the forthcoming assembly elections to be held in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. The common secular spirit recently shown in agitational politics has to be realised in electoral fronts also. The meeting pointed out that it is the responsibility of all people’s movements and non-BJP parties to give a befitting electoral lesson to divisive Hindutva politics by not allowing BJP to win any seats due to division of secular votes as happened in the last Lok Sabha elections.
In another resolution NEC welcomed President Pranab Mukherjee’s rejection of HRD Ministry’s recommendation of candidates to fill a vacant seat on Aligarh Muslim University’s executive council. It is a blow to the ongoing attempts under the supervision of HRD minister Smrithi Irani to communalise and ruin minority institutions like AMU and JMI.
In a resolution NEC called upon the central government to repeal Section 124-A of the IPC regarding sedition. The wording of the law is so ambiguous that it allows governments to suppress opposition and dissent as happened in the case of students of JNU. Under this section, simply any act of dissent can be rendered seditious and citizens can be imprisoned for long periods without bail. It is a relic of the colonial past and was used by the British to suppress freedom fighters. As Mahatma Gandhi said sedition sometimes becomes the highest duty of a citizen.
The arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union, JNU student Omar Khalid and Delhi University Professor S A R Geelani on alleged sedition is part of the shameful attempts by the government with the support of local goons and police to silence opposition and to create an atmosphere of fear in the country. The NEC extends its support to the students of JNU in their ongoing struggle for campus freedom and expressed hope that our universities, like JNU which has a great tradition of defending democracy against all sorts of totalitarian tendencies, will overcome such attempts.
In another resolution, the NEC asked backward communities to be vigilant and resist the moves, both overt and covert, that are sabotaging the very concept of reservation. The communities that are nowhere near the definition of backwardness and once fiercely opposed reservation, are now one after anothe demanding reservation for themselves. In Gujarat, the agitation of rich Patidars for reservation has attracted nationwide attention. Gujjars from Rajasthan and Marathas from Maharashtra are also agitating for quite some time and putting pressure on the political establishment for reservation. Jat agitations in UP and Haryana for the inclusion of the community in OBC list has also created tension recently. The political parties are interested only to exploit these agitations to their advantage. However, the game plan is very clear that these forward communities by raising their voice for reservation want to undo constitutionally guaranteed reservation for socially and educationally backward communities. As long as the Supreme Court ruling that reservation should not exceed 50% remains, any new community quota will be taken away from share presently enjoyed by existing OBCs. Reservation is part of affirmative actions adopted by democracies to help develop backward sections of population. The meeting warned that any attempt to enlarge the scope of reservation beyond the mark of backwardness should be strongly resisted.

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