press trust of india
PATNA/LUCKNOW, 13 JUNE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today did not rule out the emergence of a Third Front, which was also favoured by the Samajwadi Party, after the BJP-JD(U) face-off triggered the possibility of a non-Congress, non-BJP grouping to fight the next Lok Sabha polls.
The prospect of a Third Front was, however, not visualised by the CPI-M, JD-S and the RJD while TDP supported formation of such a grouping.
With the 17-year-old BJP-JD(U) alliance staring at an uncertainty, Mr Kumar, who called up his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik yesterday, said a ‘Federal Front’, the idea mooted by the Trinamul leader, could take shape. Mr Patnaik has already said there is a scope for a grouping without the Congress and the BJP. “We have common cause … we are talking … though it is early to talk about the formation of a front but it could take shape in future,” Mr Kumar said in Patna.
“Mamata Banerjee’s view is that Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand have some common problems and we should think about them together. I have also said that these problems which are common,” he said.
“If all of us together, understand these problems and form a common front it would be good. This is at an initial stage,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav also echoed the need for a Third Front. Mr Yadav said both the BJP as well as the Congress have failed to deliver at the Centre. “There are many issues on which the Congress and the BJP have been unsuccessful. The time has come for the nation to have a Third Front government,” he said.
But former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, one of the architects of the Third Front in 1996-98, did not visualise such a prospect. “There is no Third Front as such … If any non-Congress, non-BJP government is formed by regional parties, we will support it,” he said.
Another regional leader Mr Lalu Prasad of the RJD said there is no scope for the existence of a Third Front.
TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, a Third Front architect along with Gowda, was enthusiastic about the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative. “All parties, particularly the regional parties, have a responsibility to see that a third alternative to the UPA and the BJP is formed. So, we will definitely be part of the Federal Front,” the former chief minister asserted.
Ruling out any effort by it for a Third Front for Lok Sabha elections, CPI-M said it would however strive for a Left democratic alternative of regional parties for ‘adjustments’.
The non-Congress, non-BJP front would only be a temporary arrangement based on (seat) “adjustments and tactics” as part of the CPI-M’s electoral strategy, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said in Thrissur.
Replying to a question on a new non-Congress non-BJP front proposed by Miss Banerjee, he said no discussion in this regard had been held in CPI-M. He, however, asserted “the question of having an alliance with the Trinamul Congress does not arise at all. Several CPM activists in West Bengal have been attacked by the Trinamul workers.”