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Third Front worrying UPA and NDA: Karat

Source: PTI
March 20, 2009 20:31 IST
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Emergence of the non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party alternative has caused consternation in the United Progressive Alliance and the Nationalist Democratic Alliance as their "fragility" has come to the fore with some of their partners signalling pre or post-poll alliances with the third force, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat has claimed.

"Both the Congress and the BJP are on shaky ground when they termed the Third Front as an unstable and unviable alliance. The reality is that both the UPA and the NDA are not durable alliances and that their fragility has come to the fore in the recent period," the CPI-M general secretary said.

BJP had a "greater cause for worry" because, unlike in 1999 and 2004, many of the secular regional parties "are no more willing" to be associated with it and were finding their place in the non-Congress, non-BJP camp, the latest being the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa which gave the saffron party a "body blow", Karat claimed in an article in the latest issue of party mouthpiece People's Democracy.

Maintaining that the gaining of strength of the non-Congress, non-BJP grouping of parties had worried the Congress as well, he said some of the UPA partners were also "signalling that alignments will change according to the post-poll situation".

Observing that Congress has already declared that it had no national level alliance but was going in only for arrangements at the state level, Karat said, "This has undermined the very basis of the UPA. In turn, it has freed the UPA allies to look for different electoral partners in various states."

Reacting to the Congress' criticism that the Third Front would only help communal forces by dividing secular votes, Karat said, "The fact is that the emergence of the alliance of the Left and the secular regional parties has struck a body blow to the electoral ambitions of the BJP. The BJP has been left with not a single ally in states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa."

Maintaining that politics in India could not be straitjacketed into a two-party system, he said propagation of such a system by Congress "only helps the BJP instead of weakening it. Although the ruling classes of our country would like politics to revolve around a choice between two political parties, both of which represent their interests, this has proved impossible in practice."

Giving examples of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, he said both the major "bourgeois" parties were unable to command a mass base and the support of the people in significant parts of the country.

Taking on senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee for his attack on the Third Front and saying that it did not have a programme, Karat said the external affairs minister has "forgotten" that the UPA's Common Minimum Programme had come only after the elections.

"The Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the NCP and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are all bringing out separate manifestos. So why is Pranab Mukherjee concerned about a common programme for the parties of the Third Front? Why did not the Congress consider a joint programme with its elusive ally, the Samajwadi Party?" Karat wrote.

After BJD falling out with NDA, he said even the Asom Gana Parishad, despite a seat-sharing pact with BJP in Assam, had said it was not part of the NDA. Karat also said NCP leader Sharad Pawar had described the Third Front as a force which could not be written off, indicating post-poll realignments. He also mentioned the forging of unity between the four Left parties, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Telugu Desam Party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the Janata Dal-Secular and BJD in his article.

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