NATIONAL

People's Front yet to get its act together

NEW DELHI, JAN. 31. Although it was launched with enthusiasm, the People's Front which aims to carve a place for itself in national politics distinct from the Congress and the BJP, is yet to put up a coordinated show ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

The front comprising the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) of H.D. Deve Gowda, appears to be slow to present a united face in Uttar Pradesh even though the combination came together for the first time at a political rally in Azamgarh last April.

As of now, the front plans to have its first-ever rally in the campaign period on February 8, in western Uttar Pradesh which is to be attended by the front chairman and former West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu. Two other rallies are planned on February 11 and 12, which could be attended by the CPI(M) General Secretary, Harkishan Singh Surjeet.

On the face of it, the front leaders maintain that its convener and the Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh Yadav, was leading the charge in Uttar Pradesh in the electoral battle against the BJP and its allies. Of course, there have been instances when some leaders of the front shared a platform with the SP but all constituents together have yet to address a rally.

In fact, many constituents of the front were disappointed with the SP for not accommodating them when tickets were allocated. While the CPI(M) and the CPI together were allotted 11 seats, Mr. Gowda's party failed to get any. The Janata Dal (Secular) is now contesting on its own in four Assembly constituencies.

It is understood that though Mr. Gowda is busy with the Kanakapura Lok Sabha byelections, he may spare some time to campaign for his party's general secretary, Danish Ali, who is contesting from Garh Mukhteshwar in western Uttar Pradesh.

At a time when the BJP and its allies have chalked out an elaborate campaign plan carrying along senior NDA leaders such as Sharad Yadav JD(U), Nitish Kumar (Samata) and Ram Vilas Paswan, and reaching out to the electorate, the SP, it appears, is ploughing a lonely furrow.

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