M A I N   N E W S

Left, regional parties launch Third Front

Tumkur, March 12
Ahead of the General Elections, the Left and some regional parties today joined hands to cobble up a eight-party Third Front in a bid to form an alternative to the combines led by the Congress and BJP on the plank of decentralisation of power.

AIADMK and BSP supremos - Jayalalithaa and Mayawati - were not personally present at the launch of the combine spearheaded by JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda at a poll rally in Tumkur district in Karnataka but send their senior representatives V Maitreyan and S C Mishra.

Leaders of the new alliance said both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA have failed to address people’s grievances and discounted suggestions that some regional parties were coming together on an “opportunistic platform.”

“We do not want power to be centralised in Delhi. We do not believe in two-party system,” CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said describing today’s gathering as “historic”. The new Front comprises the Left (CPM, CPI, RSP, Forward Bloc) TDP, TRS, JD-S and Bhajan Lal’s Haryana Janahit Party.

Former PM Gowda said nothing should be read in the absence of Jayalalithaa and Mayawati claiming they are committed to be in the Third Front. “Mayawati may not share seats but she is with the Front,” Gowda said.

The formation of the Front threw up several potential prime ministerial candidates with BSP’s Mishra even saying their objective is to make Mayawati as the prime minister. “It is the aim of BSP to make Mayawati prime minister,” said Mishra.

TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu said the Front would have a meeting with Mayawati on March 15 to discuss issues like its prime ministerial candidate.

Both Gowda and Naidu said they are not prime ministerial candidates. “My aim is to bring Third Front to power. I am not aspiring for the Delhi gaddi,” Gowda said.

Joined by CPI leader A B Bardhan, Naidu and Gowda among others, Karat said: “Today we have come together because the country needs a new alternative.” The nascent Front also hopes to rope in Orissa’s ruling BJD and got a boost with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar whose party is a key UPA ally said the the new Front cannot be written off.

“If either of the two alliances - UPA and NDA - don”t get majority it will have to talk to the Third front. So it can’t be written off,” said Pawar, whose party is a key ally of UPA. A surprise entry at the rally was Bhajan Lal’s party Haryana Janhith Congress, which was represented by his son Kuldeep Bishnoi. — PTI



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