‘Third Front’ leaders break bread for post-poll alliance
The idea of a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition got another push Monday with leaders of Janata Dal (Secular), JD(U) and Left parties holding talks in Delhi over breakfast. No concrete decision emerged but another meeting was planned in February-end after the ongoing Parliament session to give shape to the political formation, most likely a post-poll alliance.
CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said on Monday that any third front alliance will happen only after the polls. “There is not going to be a (Third) Front prior to Lok Sabha elections… From 1977 till today, whenever there has been an alliance, it has been after the elections, be it NDA, or United Front,” Yechury said.
Earlier in the day, JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader A B Bardhan, Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas and JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda met over breakfast for an informal discussion on the poll strategy. The meeting at Gowda’s residence comes days after 11 non-Congress, non-BJP parties announced a common floor strategy in Parliament. Sources say they may issue a joint statement, arrive at a common minimum programme — it could include Centre-state relationship and fight against communal forces — and chalk out plans for joint rallies in Patna, Ranchi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Hectic parleys are on between some non-Congress, non-BJP parties to explore the third alternative. The CPM has entered into an agreement with Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and is talking to other regional parties. The CPM is also in talks with BJD in Orissa and Samajwadi Party in UP.
In Andhra Pradesh, CPM is likely to decide its strategy based on whether the state’s bifurcation to create Telangana goes through. According to sources, the option of CPM entering into an alliance with Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress remains open. Sources add that the CPM is watching Andhra CM Kiran Reddy and whether he will split from the Congress and float a new party if Telangana is created. This, according to sources, could be another option for the CPM. Left parties had organised an anti-communal convention last year which 17 parties attended.
Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, tried to make light of the efforts. Referring to Left Front’s Sunday rally in Kolkata, party spokesman Derek O’Brien said, “Less than 24 hours after the Communists were screaming about a pre-election third front in the making today, they say no Front till after polls…”
With PTI inputs