In the Third Front season,a visit by CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury to Janata Dal(U) president Sharad Yadav at his Tughlaq Road residence on Sunday fuelled speculation over the future course of the key NDA partner. The meeting attracted instant attention because of the beliefin the backdrop of the Orissa break-up and Maharashtra rumblingsthat any ally could walk out on the BJP when the going appears to be tough.
Yechury did not comment on his meeting with Yadav,but made a general comment while speaking to reporters later. We appeal to all secular and democratic parties to come together in the interest of the country, he said,leaving it open to interpretation by the media. However,Yadav,seeking to set the developing controversy at rest,told ‘The Indian Express’: I am the working convenor of the NDA. I am very much in the NDA and I will continue to be in the NDA.
The clarification and political alignment aside,the question remained about what the two leaders discussed. Yechury has been of late very active,trying to bring regional players together to build an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP. He played an important role in weaning Orissa Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik away from the BJP.
While Yadav and Yechury reviewed the current political scene,Yadav,according to sources,expressed skepticism about the viability of the third alternative. He is understood to have pointed out to the CPI(M) leaders that no government would be possible without the backing of Congress or the BJP. He expressed his indignation over the denigration of the high office of Prime Minister with leaders of even miniscule parties dreaming of occupying 7,Race Course Road. The JD(U) chief,according to the sources,felt the Left parties would do better by focusing on West Bengal and Kerala and check their own downslide in their strongholds instead of spending all their energy on promoting bit players.
Lest the stance of the JD(U) chief create an impression of everything being hunky dory in the NDA,the fact is that the junior ally is far from being happy over the BJPs delay in finalising seat adjustments in UP and Jharkhand. The JD(U) has sought three seats in UP and two in Jharkhand. But notwithstanding the tantalizing wait,Yadav has no choice. As the working convenor of the alliance,he has to remain steadfast,swearing by the NDA,no matter who comes calling on him.