Parties should rise above regional interests: Chandy

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Monday that political parties should be able to consider the national interest and not remain confined to narrow regional interests.

The chief minister was addressing the gathering of chief ministers from across the country at the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting in the national capital, held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Chandy said the governments at the centre and the states have been working together to combat the menace of communalism, casteism and regionalism and their efforts have contributed to a strong and vibrant India.

"I wish to point out the greater role of political parties. All those within the framework of the democratic set up have a very important task in the present scenario. They should devote themselves to the national interest rather than compartmentalizing themselves with narrow minded regional interests," Chandy said.

He said communal harmony was the face of the nation and parties should pledge not to scar that face.

"Any dispute among states should not be debated in such a way as to generate hatred and rivalry... There should be a platform for active discussion and conflict resolution rather than sensationalism. All political parties, state governments and democratic enthusiasts must be committed to this cause," Chandy said.

He also said there was need to monitor the social media to prevent its misuse.

"We have a great culture and tradition of accommodating everyone's views. The character and colour of our great country is tolerance. Much before our constitution itself, we were practicing this. What we should pass to our future generation is this practice of tolerance. Governments should actively consider bringing this as a very important part in school curricula," Chandy said.

The Kerala chief minister said that in the last couple of months intelligence reports have been received of left wing extremists gathering in forests in areas adjoining Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, trying to build their base in the tribal hamlets of northern Kerala.

"I urge the government of India to extend all infrastructural as well as technological assistance to the state government to check and combat Left extremists and communal fundamentalists," Chandy said.

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