New Delhi / Lucknow: A non-Congress, non-BJP grouping is taking shape, the contours of which are expected to become clearer during the upcoming Parliament session, when about 10 parties plan to hold a joint press conference in New Delhi in a show of unity ahead of general elections.
Leaders of AIADMK, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), Biju Janata Dal and Left parties are planning to come together for a presser on the opening day or on the eve of the Parliament session. Bihar CM and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar had indicated such a move in an interview to ET published on Friday.
He had said the first step towards a national alternative will be the formation of a parliamentary block of like-minded parties. The joint press conference could provide a forum for a public announcement of this grouping.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday at Bhubaneswar and is expected to meet AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa next week to firm up the alliance in Tamil Nadu.
“I met Naveen Patnaik yesterday and had consultations with him on the need for non-Congress, non-BJP parties to come together and present an alternative agenda before the people for these parliamentary polls. We will all have a joint press conference on the eve of the parliament session or on the opening day,” Karat said on Friday.
In his interview, Kumar had said that he was planning to bring Samajwadi Party and JD(S) into a federated structure that would allow all member parties to contest elections on separate symbols while staying part of a single entity.
JD(S) chief and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda told ET that he was in constant touch with Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“I am all for the Janta Parivar unity. A merger is not possible before the elections, so, we are not talking about a merger now. It can only happen after the elections,” Gowda said, adding that talks were focused on the need for a national alternative ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“Everybody has agreed on the need to come together on a single platform. Apart from secularism, we would also like to have a common economic agenda. I spoke to Naveen Patnaik and he has also agreed. I have requested the Left to draw up a common programme. This combination can win 130-140 seats in this election,” Gowda said.
Even the United Front experiment of 1996 was a postpoll creation, Gowda said, reasoning that even if there is no alliance or tie-up before the elections, parties can come together to share a common platform, which can be expanded into an alliance later.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav concurred, saying, “This front will come together after the election results are out. Non-BJP and non-Congress parties will win the maximum number of seats and after polls we will form a front to run the government.” SP appears comfortable with the conceptual framework of the proposed federation of SP, JD(U) and JD (S). “If that means parties running the states independently with a common minimum programme at the Centre, then yes. That is what we will work for,” said Yadav.
Though SP is not talking about projecting its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as a prime ministerial candidate just yet, the matter is very much on the party’s agenda. “It will depend on who wins how many seats. Mulayam Singh is a tall leader and will play a major role in government formation,” Yadav said.
The first step towards the formation of this alliance of regional parties was taken by the Left Front when it organised an “anti-communalism conference” at Delhi’s Talkatora stadium on October 30 last year. Most of the 11 participants at that conference are expected to be present at the upcoming joint press conference.
Courtesy: Economic Times