Pouring cold water on the prospects of a third front emerging after the next Lok Sabha polls,as hinted by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,NCP leader and Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday said that he not only visualised the NCP continuing in the UPA in future but was also hopeful of a third term for the ruling coalition at the Centre.
I cannot talk about life outside the UPA at all. I cannot prejudge the numbers,but I think that the UPA is there to stay. Let me say our effort will always be to see that more parties join the UPA, he said. If more people are required,we will make the effort to rope in more support.
Patel,the second most important leader in the NCP and considered among the closest confidant of party chief Sharad Pawar,however,agreed with Mulayams contention that it is an era of coalitions and that no single party could come to power on its own. That is the reality. It has been so for more than a decade now. What is new about it?
Maintaining that the NCP had been the most dependable ally of the Congress within the UPA,Patel said he did not see the possibility of their party aligning with other regional outfits like SP,BJD and Left parties to set up a non-Congress,non-BJP formation. It is true that we have had pre-poll alliances at the Assembly level with the SP in Maharashtra,with the BJD in Orissa and with the Left in Kerala. But at the Centre,we are in the UPA and will continue to be there, Patel said.
Third front talks gained currency after Mulayam,in the backdrop of the DMK pullout,made clear overture to like-minded parties at a public meeting in Sangli in Maharashtra.
Pawar,who was to attend the meeting,had to pull out at the last minute after he felt indisposed and was rushed to a hospital in Pune.