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India: Left plans secular meet for ’Third Front’ options

Saturday 16 November 2013, by siawi3


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi, October 15, 2013

In what can be seen as a first concrete effort to project a third alternative to the voters for the 2014 general election, the four Left parties have organised a convention against communalism to attract partners. 

A senior Left leader told HT, “This effort, obviously, also looks to strengthen the political ties. Our primary target is to stop poaching of political parties from the non-BJP, non-Congress camp.”
The convention, slated on October 30 at the capital’s Talkatora stadium, aims to discuss the rising cases of communal violence in the country, particularly in north India, said sources. But to strengthen future efforts to stitch an alliance against the Congress and the BJP, the invitee list also includes two key players outside the north Indian political mainstream — J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and Naveen Patnaik’s BJD.

While the convention is set to see Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav share dais with the Left after a long time, more significance is attached to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
The JD(U) leader has already confirmed his participation for the meeting where top Left leaders like CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, politburo member Sitaram Yechury and CPI veteran AB Bardhan would participate.
Significantly, while SP chief is again set to hold the hands of the Left after dumping them unceremoniously over the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is missing from the list of invitees.
“Naidu has almost decided on a partnership with the BJP. We are looking forward to rope in a more significant political force in Andhra Pradesh like Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress,” said a leader.

The Left’s initiative also has little space for Trinamool Congress and BSP. While the Left has successfully dashed Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s Third Front dreams, it values the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh more than its arch rival BSP.