Efforts to form non-BJP, non-Congress front pick up steam

Efforts to form a non-BJP, non-Congress combine gained further momentum with senior Communist Party of India leaders calling on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday and announcing the launch of an AIADMK-CPI alliance for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat would meet her on Monday.

“If the alliance succeeds in the election, then the prospects would open up for her,” A.B. Bardhan, former general secretary of the CPI, said when asked whether Ms. Jayalalithaa would be projected as the alliance’s prime ministerial candidate.

Ms. Jayalalithaa, however, intervened to remark that such issues would come up at a later time. “Now, our aim is to work together and win all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.” She said the AIADMK would fight the election on the plank of peace, prosperity and progress.

CPI national secretary D. Raja said the all-party meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath would provide an opportunity to the leaders of the non-BJP, non-Congress parties to have an informal discussion. “We have plans to meet the media together. But we have to wait for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who will arrive in Delhi only on February 9. Mr. Deve Gowda and other leaders will be in the capital to attend Parliament.”

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said the formation would be clear after the polls. “It is a viable alternative, as in the past too we have formed governments at the Centre which fell due to personality clashes, internal contradictions and ideological issues,” he told The Hindu.

Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow that the numbers game would decide the strength of the constituents of the grouping. “Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats and the SP will win a majority of these,” he said.

“Biju Janata Dal will definitely support the third front and the constituent parties will choose the Prime Minister,” said Damodar Rout, senior BJD leader and Health and Family Welfare Minister in the Naveen Patnaik government.

(With additional reporting by Prafulla Das in Bhubaneswar, Rahi Gaikwad in Patna and Atiq Khan in Lucknow)

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