Most of the 14 parties that came together in the Capital on October 30 for a Left-backed convention against communalism have decided to organise a similar mobilisation exercise in Karnataka next month to project themselves as a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

The contours of the alliance emerged at a meeting between the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, and the former Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary, A.B. Bardhan, here on Wednesday. The leaders agreed that there was a need to make their presence felt on the electoral landscape with a public gathering of regional, secular non-Congress non-BJP parties either in Bihar, Orissa or Karnataka.

Mr. Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) had agreed to take the lead by organising a rally in Bangalore in the first half of February, Mr. Bardhan told The Hindu. All the 14 parties that participated in the October 30 convention would be invited to this meeting. “If all of them make a statement that they will be willing to come together to form a coalition against the BJP and the Congress, then that would be enough to start with,” he said.

At a ‘meet the press’ programme in Kochi on Saturday, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat too said a broad alliance based on a loose coordination of non-Congress secular parties was in the offing.

Besides the JD(S) and the CPI, the other parties are the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the CPI(M), the Janata Dal (United), the Samajwadi Party, the Biju Janata Dal, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Forward Bloc, the Republican Party of India, the Asom Gana Parishad, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and the People’s Party of Punjab.

JD(S) secretary general Kanwar Danish Ali said Mr. Gowda spoke to the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa, Akhilesh Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik, and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury after the meeting with Mr. Bardhan.

UPA cannot counter BJP: Karat

S. Anandan reports from Kochi:

Mr. Karat, addressing a ‘meet the press’ programme, said: “The Congress and the United Progressive Alliance are incapable of countering the BJP and its leader Narendra Modi. They can only be effectively checked by a non-Congress, secular combination of forces…. the 14 political parties that came together in Delhi on October 30 provide the basis for the future arrangement. We hope in the next three weeks or so, we would be able to arrive at some coordination and arrangement with many of these parties.”

He pointed out that all previous non-Congress, non-BJP combinations had taken shape post-elections, whether it was the V.P. Singh-led government in 1989 or the Deve Gowda government in 1996. But this time around, several non-Congress secular parties were already in touch. In February, “we will have some concrete electoral alliances in some States” in order to be able to possibly put together a combination to keep the BJP out of power.

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