Ever since the Third Front was formed, its decisions and actions have been marked by confusion. First, it proposed the name of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for a second term without even bothering to obtain his formal consent. Then it decided unanimously to support neither the UPA nor the NDA-backed independent candidate in the presidential election. But in the election held on Thursday, many MPs and MLAs of UNPA constituents, including the AIADMK, cast their votes much to the embarrassment of parties such as the TDP. AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa pleaded ignorance of her legislators’ action, citing the Election Commission’s ruling. From the manner in which it is functioning, one wonders how long the front will continue to exist.

S. Balusamy,

It is amusing to read Ms. Jayalalithaa’s statement on the voting by her partymen. What was the confusion that arose from the Election Commission’s note that said MPs and MLAs could abstain from voting without attracting disqualification? The legislators could have abstained had they wanted to. That they would not have ventured to vote without their leader’s implied approval is well known.

P.R. Thiruvengadam,

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa’s claim that the party MLAs and MPs voted by themselves, by way of abundant caution is incredible. It is well known that the AIADMK legislators never cross the ‘Lakshman rekha’ drawn by her. Her popularity chart, one feels, has taken a dip because of the legislators’ action.

S. Ramakrishnasayee,

Ms. Jayalalithaa may give any number of reasons for her partymen’s decision. But she has put a question mark on the UNPA’s future. It is the second blow to the UNPA within a few months of its formation.

V. Pandiraja,

The sudden u-turn by some UNPA legislators exposes the lack of coordination among the constituents. It has reinforced the absence of leadership and agenda in the front. There is no question though that the action of the MPs and MLAs who participated in the polling has strengthened democracy. The parties that abstained have violated an important democratic principle.

Inamdar Ramchandra,

The action of the elected representatives who abstained is wrong. Absenteeism is punishable in non-political spheres. Those who abstained should be penalised or the power to elect the President handed over to the people.

K.S. Anand,