Third front gathers steam in Delhi, Kolkata

 The move of a third front—to form a non-BJP, non-Congress government—gained momentum on Monday, with top regional leaders from different parts of the country meeting in New Delhi and Kolkata to discuss it.

While Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda convened an informal meeting of Left leaders and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in New Delhi, Telegu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu met Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata. The Delhi meeting was attended by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) general secretary Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India leader A B Bardhan and Forward Block secretary Debbrat Biswas among others.

According to sources, the meeting primarily discussed the strategy as to how the impact of the coming together of 11 political parties could be made in the upcoming polls.
They decided to hold a meeting after the winter session of Parliament. The meeting also discussed organising rallies as a show of strength in different parts of the country. One of the rallies is being planned in Bangalore, while another rally might be held in Patna.

Meanwhile in Kolkata, Naidu, who met Mamata at the state secretariat to discuss “the formation of a federal front” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, called the outcome of the meeting “positive”. An optimistic Naidu, who said the federal front would garner the necessary numbers to form the government, however, did not specify which parties would constitute the coalition.

“Discussions are on with different parties,” he told reporters after the meeting.
While Mamata did not talk to reporters, party sources said since the Trinamool chief was the first to talk of a federal front, she is ready to lead a coalition of regional parties.
“Banerjee already made it clear from her January 30 rally that she is interested (in the federal front). She even said if the situation demands, she would make way for others to lead the coalition. However, we cannot be a part of a coalition if it includes the Left,” said a Trinamool leader.

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