K. Venkateshwarlu

HYDERABAD: With the latest desertion of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) that began as a promising eight non-Congress and non- BJP regional parties’ grouping, seems to be on the verge of disintegration.

The AGP leadership announced its decision to go with BJP-led NDA in the presence of Leader of the Opposition L. K. Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh at Delhi on Thursday.

Naidu plans go awry

Just a month ago, the Haryana strongman and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president Omprakash Chautala too severed his links with UNPA and addressed a joint press conference with Mr. Advani. Apparently, the exit of two more parties, coming close on the heels of Samajwadi Party switching over to the UPA, has embarrassed the TDP president and chief architect of the UNPA, N. Chandrababu Naidu. Mr. Naidu cobbled up the grouping along with the Samajiwadi Party to develop it as a viable alternative to UPA and NDA, besides of course coming closer to the Left parties.

While he was able to nearly achieve his goal of gravitating towards Left parties, his other dream of again donning the role of a kingmaker on the national political scene using the UNPA as a springboard, lay shattered. For yet another time, his experiment proved to be a political miscalculation, as he now has only the one-MP party, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Democratic), left in the UNPA.

When it was launched in June 2007, there were eight parties—TDP, AIADMK, SP, INLD, AGP, JVM (D), MDMK and Kerala Congress (J). Soon after the formation of UNPA, fissures developed with some AIADMK and SP MPs and MLAs going against the UNPA’s decision to abstain in the presidential elections. AIADMK was the first to move out of the combine.

The other “pillar” of UNPA, Samajwadi Party having 39 MPs, called it quits using the nuclear deal as the ruse. In between nothing was heard from the other smaller regional parties. But with the INLD and AGP switching sides now, the collapse looks complete.

TDP leaders, however, downplayed the desertions.