The Central government did not respond to the Assam agitators’ willingness to participate in tripartite talks but said its offer to them for direct negotiations was still open. An official spokesman told newsmen that several rounds of discussions had already taken place and the government had made it clear time and again that its doors were open. Expressing the government’s keenness to settle the issue, he said that it stood by the offer made by Home Minister Zail Singh of negotiations without pre-conditions. Informed sources said the government felt there was no need for a formal invitation to the agitators for resuming the dialogue. The Home Minister’s statement amounted to an invitation to them.
Violent incidents occurred in Srinagar and Sopore (north Kashmir) on the occasion of the “protest day” observed by the state Congress (I) in Kashmir against what it called “political interference of the ruling party in the day-to-day administration, increasing corruption and unemployment” in the state. The Kashmir Youth Federation (the youth wing of the ruling National Conference) held counter-demonstrations against the Congress (I) “tactics”. There was an exchange of brickbats between workers of the Youth Federation and the state Congress (I) in front of the Pradesh Congress (I) headquarters in the city. The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
The leadership of the CPI and CPM have agreed in principle on the need for forging a broad unity among Left and democratic forces to counter the Congress (I), which looks poised to overthrow CPM-dominated governments in West Bengal and Kerala. While the idea has been endorsed by the CPI, whose central executive concluded its four-day session in Delhi, the CPM politburo meeting from January 11 will have this on top of the agenda. CPM sources in New Delhi seemed confident that the politburo will be able to draw up a programme for such unity.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines