The top leaders of the proposed “federal front” will launch their joint campaign with a rally in Karnataka. Speaking to The Sunday Express on Saturday, one of the prime movers of this initiative, former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda, said that before the rally, the chief ministers of the erstwhile Janata Parivar parties, including Nitish Kumar (JD-U), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Naveen Patnaik (BJD), would hold a meeting between February 9 and 13.
Gowda said that the meeting will be part of several that parties not allied with the UPA or the NDA are planning to hold over the next two weeks to arrive at a broad agenda for the 2014 parliamentary polls, which is different from the Congress’s and BJP’s, as well as work out plans for rallies. The AIADMK is among the parties the block is planning to bring under a united fold. Sources in Patna said one thing the Janata Parivar alignment — which expects to win up to 75 seats in the Lok Sabha — is agreed upon is to not project a prime ministerial candidate.
One of the first initiatives of the possible constituents of this front is a joint strategy for Parliament, to be worked out at a meeting on February 5, the first day of the session. Sources in Patna said that the BJD and AIADMK had confirmed attending this meeting, which is a Left Front initiative, along with the JD(U), SP and four Left parties.
CPM leader Prakash Karat said on Saturday that about 10 non-Congress, non-BJP parties are willing to come together to provide a viable political alternative. Speaking to the media in Hyderabad, he asserted that this should not be called a third front. “Whether we will give it some concrete shape will depend on the election results. But we will cooperate for the Lok Sabha elections. How we do that, that is being worked out.”
JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi confirmed Nitish’s participation. “The Karnataka rally would be our first show of togetherness to impress upon people that regional parties can be a better alternative,” Tyagi said. Nitish reiterated in Patna that there was no chance of the JD(U) going back to the NDA, adding: “The idea (of a front) has started taking shape fast.”
Sources said in order to cement ties, the JD(U) may concede three-four seats in Bihar. Sources said the CPI had asked for at least four seats and the CPM two. The JD(U) has been offering two seats to the CPI and one to the CPM, with the assurance of “compensation” at the time of the 2015 Assembly elections. Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal could also be a part of this formation, Gowda said, adding that leaders such as the CPM’s Sitaram Yechury were working on a joint policy.
(With PTI, Hyderabad)