The Left-sponsored exercise to build a non-Congress,non-BJP political alternative ran into roadblocks set up by Mayawati and Jayalalithaa today,leading to the realisation among participant leaders that a structured Third Front could emerge only after the elections.
The latent rivalry between the supreme leaders of the BSP and AIADMK came out in the open when Mayawati did not lend her name to the joint appeal for unity issued by the Left and other Third Front constituents,and Jayalalithaas representative kept away from the dinner hosted by the BSP chief a few hours later. I am occupied with some urgent work,AIADMK MP V. Maitreyan said as excuse for skipping Mayawatis dinner that followed the Third Front meeting at the CPI(M) headquarters.
The two-hour meeting at the capitals AK Gopalan Bhavan ended with the participants issuing a joint appeal urging all secular and democratic parties to join them. But leaders at the meeting agreed that it was not immediately possible to visualise a structured third front. There is no such thing as a structured third front. It is about friendly cooperation between non-BJP and non-Congress parties during the elections, BJD leader Jay Panda told reporters after the dinner meeting.
Earlier in the day,Mayawati had sent out the message that no immediate coming-together of Front partners was imminent. An agreement has been reached between our friendly parties (the so-called third front) to contest separately and then unite after the polls to stop the UPA and NDA from coming to power, she said.
Leaders of the Left,however,expressed happiness with the response their effort for an alternative government had received it,had,they said,set up a platform for wooing non-BJP,non-Congress parties at a later stage. Even the UPA is a post poll alliance, remarked a Left leader.
The Leftists underlined that it was not a mean achievement that the leaders of five regional parties TDP,TRS,JD(S),AIADMK and BJD had expressed,along with the four Left parties,their commitment towards a non-Congress,non-BJP government.
In addition,the fact that the BSP has expressed solidarity with the non-BJP,non-Congress platform is a development in the positive direction,Mayawatis decision against a pre-poll alliance notwithstanding,the Left believes. At her news conference earlier in the day,Mayawati also made the announcement that the issue of Prime Ministership would be decided after the polls.
At the dinner at Mayawatis Delhi base,the CPMs Prakash Karat is believed to have read out the joint statement issued by the Left and the other five parties to the BSP chief. Mayawati is understood to have agreed with the contents,and said she had said much the same to reporters earlier in the day.
The leaders at the dinner spent time discussing the media hype around their meeting,and the best way to communicate the fronts unity,sources said. They also discussed media reports on Mayawatis claim on Prime Ministership,with each leader reportedly trying to downplay it in the context of her clarification earlier in the day.
Apart from Left leaders,the dinner was attended by JD(S) chief Deve Gowda,TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu,TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao and BJD MP Jay Panda. Bhajan Lals Haryana Janhit Congress,which participated in the third front rally in Karnataka,was absent at both the meeting at the CPM headquarters and at Mayawatis dinner.
The joint statement issued by the Left and leaders of the five regional parties said: We shall work together to form an alternative government for the progress and welfare of the people of our country. We appeal to all secular and democratic forces and all sections of the people to support this endeavour.
A statement read out by Mayawati after the dinner was along similar lines. All the senior leaders present resolved to present a non-Congress and non-BJP secular alternative to the country that will form a government after the polls based on policies in the interest of the nation and the people,she read out.