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Third Front takes off
Tumkur (Karnataka), Mar 12 (IANS):
Published on 13 Mar. 2009 1:26 AM IST
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Mayawati, Jayalalitha, BJD notable absentees Left and regional parties from across the country Thursday launched a Third Front at a massive rally here as an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections beginning next month but the two national parties asserted the grouping would not hurt their poll prospects. The rally was addressed by leaders of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), the prime force behind the show of strength, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), the Forward Bloc, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the AIADMK, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the late entrant Haryana Janhit Congress. They urged people to vote for a “democratic and secular’ government in the April-May Lok Sabha polls but did not give any indication of the structure of the Third Front or whether its constituents will contest the polls on a common agenda, though JD-S leader and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda had said “a message will be conveyed” at the rally. The Congress and BJP were, however, unfazed. Both said the new formation would not last long. Downplaying the “get-together” of 10 parties, the Congress described the new formation as “an unprincipled alliance” while the BJP said it would “vanish in the air” after the polls. Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and general secretary V. Narayanasamy said: “Definitely, they are not at all a threat to the UPA (United Progressive Alliance). They are only for power. They don’t have any policies and programmes. The alliance will not continue for long.” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain, a former union minister, said: “The alliance will vanish in the air as they will go either with the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) or UPA after the elections. Mayawati took the Left and JD-S leaders by surprise by sending her trusted lieutenant Satish Mishra by a special plane to address the rally. “Everybody is surprised that Behenji (as Mayawati is called by his followers) has sent her confidant by a special plane. I thank Left leaders for making effort to get Mayawati to send her representative to the rally,” Deve Gowda said. Another surprise was the presence of Haryana Janhit Congress of former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal. His son Kuldeep Bishnoi represented the party here. The large crowd braved lack of drinking water, heat and dust to witness the launch of the Third Front. “This is a historic get-together of all the democratic, secular and Left parties to declare that we are all coming together to constitute a third force in this country,” declared Karat of the CPI-M. Mishra of the BSP said: “We are not a third alternative. We are the only alternative to provide a good economic and independent foreign policy. After the elections, the Congress and the BJP would be rooted out.” N. Chandrababu Naidu, who spoke in Telugu, asserted: “The Third Front will form the government at the centre after this election.” AIADMK representative, Rajya Sabha member V. Maithreyan, said: “In the coming elections, UPA will be thrown in the Bay of Bengal. The Third Front will come to power as an alternative to UPA and NDA.”

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