M A I N   N E W S

Prez Poll
UNPA decides to abstain
To field its nominee for V-Pís post
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The nine-party United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) will abstain in the July 19 Presidential poll and decided to have its own nominee for the office of Vice-President to register itself at the national level.

J&Kís National Conference was the latest addition to the UNPA though its patron Farooq Abdullah excused himself from the meeting because of prior commitments.

The UNPA which met here this afternoon at the residence of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala to work out its strategy for the election of the President, obliquely impressed upon the Left to break ranks with the Congress-led UPA and back their Vice-Presidential nominee.

The UNPA put a caveat that the Left must withdraw their support to the UPA if their alliance of regional parties was to back their candidate for the post of Vice-President. AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa told mediapersons after a three-hour meeting of the UNPA leaders that they would support the Left nominee for the Vice-Presidentís post only ďif they withdraw from the UPA.Ē

She maintained that the UNPA would remain equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP and not support the Presidential candidate of either the UPA or the NDA.

Virtually positioning herself as the chairperson of the UNPA, Jayalalithaa insisted that abstention was legally the right step.

Emphasising that the UNPA was yet to decide on its nominee for the office of Vice-President, TDP leader and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu acknowledged that they were not expecting to win.

Even though the Left has differences with the Manmohan Singh government on the economic policies, it has given vent to its feelings that they will take up their grievances at the highest level and their support from outside to the coalition arrangement at the Centre cannot be taken for granted. Impartial observers here view this as posturing by the Left parties.

As of now, the Left is unsure if a third force can be propped up and if it can face the challenges ahead. On its part, the UNPA has thrown the gauntlet in the hope that the Left presently caught in a queasy relationship with the UPA government will veer round to propping up the UNPA which comprises the AIADMK, TDP, SP, AGP, INLD, NC, JVM, MDMK and KC.



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