Mulayam bid to stitch up third front

Plans Janata Parivar meet soon; Lalu, Nitish to attend

Apparently buoyed by the ‘positive response’ from former Janata Parivar leaders, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has expedited the formation of a third front without the BJP and Congress to counter a possible saffron surge.

According to sources in the SP, Mulayam will meet the former Janata Parivar leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to discuss formation of such an alternative force.

The meeting is likely to be held at Mulayam’s residence in Delhi on Thursday, the sources said.

SP sources said the immediate focus of the discussion among the leaders would be Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. While Assembly elections in Bihar are due next year, UP will go to the polls in a little over two years.

“Leaders from other parties, barring the Congress and BJP, are also welcome at the meeting,” an SP leader.

He declined to say whether leaders from the Trinamool Congress and Left parties would participate in the meeting.

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav had also earlier hinted at forming such a front. Sharad Yadav had attended the national convention of the SP here last month, where he had heaped praise on Mulayam.

“We (Mulayam and himself) have always been good friends,” Sharad Yadav had said.
He had also said that there was a “new challenge” in the country and that all leaders, who were in any way associated with the Janata Dal, should come together.

Lalu Yadav, who joined hands with his former rival Nitish Kumar in an apparent bid to check the BJP’s advance in Bihar, had appealed to Mulayam and BSP chief Mayawati to shun their differences and fight “communal forces” together.

But Mayawati had made it clear that she would, under no circumstances, ally with the SP.

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