Third front gains momentum

Nitish, Mulayam and Gowda key players

Third front gains momentum

Efforts to form a third front before the Lok Sabha elections have gained momentum, with leaders openly expressing the need for a non-BJP, non-Congress political formation.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was until a few days ago waiting for a possible tie-up with the Congress, appears to have thrown his weight behind forming a third front. Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party (SP) is also emerging as a key player, besides the Left parties.  

A precursor to the third front is coming up in the form of a parliamentary block. The block will comprise 10 parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI-Marxist, SP, Janata Dal-United (JD-U), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). 

Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H D Deve Gowda has also been cobbling together an alliance. 

After being dumped by the Congress, Kumar has been actively trying to forge a pre-poll alliance. He, according to party leaders, is desperate after the Congress opted for his adversary and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad for an alliance. The Lok Janshakti Party of Ramvilas Paswan will also be part of the alliance.

“Nitish realised it very late and delayed forging an alliance with the Left parties. At some point of time, he was in touch with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. He was also giving an impression that an alliance of regional parties will come up without the Left parties. Now, he does not have any choice. To get support of minorities, he has to make a strong secular alliance,” said a JD-U leader.

CPM leader Prakash Karat has toured the country and interacted with leaders of regional parties. He will meet AIADMK leader Jayalalitha too.

Mulayam Singh, who has been opposed to any pre-poll alliance because of pressure from the Congress, has agreed to some sort of a formation as he fears an erosion in his Muslim vote base. He also needs a strong secular alliance.

In an interview, Kumar had admitted to the SP’s aversion to a pre-poll alliance. 

He had indicated that the SP and the JD-S would come under a federal structure and allow all member parties to contest elections on separate symbols. 

Deve Gowda had earlier said he was in constant touch with Kumar, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

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