Making the first move towards formation of a third front, 11 parties including UPA government’s outside supporter SP and the Left, on Wednesday decided to function as a bloc in Parliament. The new formation will be “confined to Parliament now” but the parties said they are planning to prepare a “common agenda” to project themselves as the non-Congress, non-BJP alternative.
The immediate aim of the bloc seems to be to ensure that the Congress-led government does not take sole credit for the passage of anti-corruption Bills. Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the parties will not allow the Congress to utilize the session to launch its election agenda.
“We want a proper discussion on all the issues the government is proposing,” he said. With Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh opposed to division of the state stalling the proceedings of the House, the parties want to make it difficult for the government to pass the Bills without discussion.
“They would want some Bills to be passed in the din and then go to the electorate to say that this is our election agenda, now that is making a mockery of parliamentary process. We are opposed to it and all the parties will unitedly ensure the sanctity of Parliament,” Yechury said after a meeting of 11 parties comprising Samajwadi Party, JD(U), AIADMK, BJD, AGP, JD(S), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and four Left parties.
However, contradictions amongst these parties on key legislations remain. While the CPM and the CPI are on opposite sides of the Telangana issue, the AIADMK is against the Communal Violence Bill while the Left and many other parties are in favour.
Outside Parliament, the leaders know the PM candidate question is going to be a tricky one as they move towards giving a formal shape to the front. “We will soon have a common programme and that will be our leader,” JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said. Sources said the date and venue of a rally where all the leaders of the bloc will be present is being finalised. It would be either in Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chennai or in Patna.
In a frontal attack on the BJP, Gandhi said the BJP made only tall claims but delivered little after coming to power.