Left Parties on the Presidential Elections

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Press Statement

The Left parties, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, RSP and Forward Bloc have issued the following statement:

 On The Presidential Election

 The elections to the President's post is being held at a juncture when the country is faced with a serious crisis -- the tensions on the border with Pakistan, the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, the unprecedented State-sponsored violence against the minorities in Gujarat and deteriorating economic conditions. At such a time, the people expected and we proposed to the BJP-led ruling alliance to make a serious effort to arrive at a consensus candidate.

Belying such hopes, the BJP set about to manipulate the process to eliminate the best possible choice which was Shri. K.R. Narayanan, the incumbent President. The Left parties had vehemently objected to this maneouvre.

The BJP's duplicity became evident when bypassing a serious effort for a consensus around Vice-President Shri Krishan Kant, the name of Shri P.C. Alexander was proposed. The Left parties reiterated that Shri K.R. Narayanan is the best possible candidate given his stature and his record as President. The major opposition parties unitedly approached Shri K.R. Narayanan requesting him to stand for the Presidentship.

Unfortunately, after jointly proposing his name for the Presidentship, the Samajwadi Party has now backed out and decided to support Dr. Abdul Kalam, the nominee of the NDA. This step is harmful and has pitted the Samajwadi Party against the common stand taken by the other partners in the front.

Dr. Abdul Kalam is a renowned scientist-administrator and the country has given him due recognition for his contribution. However, the post of the President should be filled by a person who is familiar with the complexities of the political situation in the country. The polity is highly fragmented and coalition governments comprising of various diverse parties have been coming into office. The events in Gujarat are a serious warning -- the state government has connived in the worst ever pogrom against the minorities. The rights ensured for all citizens under the Constitution are not enforced in the state.

The Left parties are of the firm opinion that the person occupying the post of President which is the highest Constitutional political office must be able to grasp and respond to these developments. As the custodian of the Constitution, he or she is expected to safeguard the secular democratic foundations of the Indian Republic.

Who will be the President is a serious political question. Since the NDA is going ahead with its candidate, the Left parties are of the view that it must be opposed. All those who are concerned with secular, democratic values expect the opposition parties, including the major opposition party, the Congress, to join this political contest.

  Harkishan Singh Surjeet

A. B. Bardhan

Abani Roy

G. Devarajan