The Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday did not rule out backing >Third Front to stop BJP from coming to power, saying it may offer issue based support to a non-Congress “secular” dispensation.
With the marathon >Lok Sabha elections wrapping up on Monday, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said AAP will consider offering issue-based support to a Third Front government if such an initiative was launched based on election results which will be out on May 16.
“Yes, we may extend issue based support if there is a situation that demands our support to a Third Front government,” Mr. Rai told PTI in Varanasi.
The talk of possible cobbling together of “secular forces” to stop BJP from coming to power has gained momentum in the last couple of weeks with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and a number of other leaders exuding confidence of such a formation, expecting that Congress would not do well to form UPA-III.
Rai, considered close to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal,, however, said a decision on future role of the party will be taken after analysing the outcome of the election.
“Our movement is for common people and support will be definitely issue-based. Final decision on future course of action will be taken after May 16 when results will be declared,” he said.
AAP has fielded candidates in 422 Lok Sabha seats and Mr. Kejriwal had earlier claimed that his party will win at least 100 seats.
Mr. Rai, however, refused to hazard a guess about number of seats AAP would bag, saying the party’s struggle will go on even if it does not perform well.
The AAP had in a stunning victory in its electoral debut bagged 28 seats in Delhi Assembly elections in December last year and a number of senior party leaders said they will repeat the “surprise” in the Lok Sabha polls as well.
The party was hoping to perform well in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
“Our aim is to ensure that voice of honest politics reaches Parliament. It does not matter whether we win 10 seats or 30 seats. “We will go there and try to build pressure to bring systemic changes,” Mr. Rai said.
Last week, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat had said that a repeat of the 1996-like situation was possible and the Congress may be forced to support a government of secular parties at the Centre to keep the BJP out of power.
The front of non-Congress, non-BJP parties would be able to cobble up a majority with outside support from Congress, he said.
On Saturday, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati said her party will not join any front and her numbers will be enough to galvanise secular forces around her.
Few days back, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had ruled out extending support to a Third Front government saying he was confident that Congress will have the numbers to form UPA III.
But Mr. Mulayam had hoped that Congress would support a Third Front government.
Mr. Rai said Arvind Kejriwal was confident of winning the “mega contest” against BJP’s Narendra Modi in Varanasi as there has been a “yearning for change” across the temple town.
“People want to see change in Varanasi. They have been supporting BJP and Congress for last so many decades but the elected representatives never cared for the city and that is why there has been a groundswell of support for AAP,” Mr. Rai who was here for campaigning said.
The presence of Mr. Modi and Mr. Kejriwal in the political battle here has made the contest one of the most keenly watch fight of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“Arvind Kejriwal has come out as an honest and credible face because of which he has been receiving massive support across Varanasi. This is a fight of two ideologies. Mr. Kejriwal represents honest politics while Modi backs corruption and interests of big corporate.
“If Mr. Kejriwal wins, then honest politics will move forward while if Mr. Modi emerges victorious, the politics of hatred, religion and corruption will continue,” he said.