Thu, 31 Oct 2013 07:45:00 GMT | By IANS

Traces of Third Front as 14 parties share dias

A group of non-BJP and non-Congress parties, including UPA constituent NCP, came together on a common platform to fight communal forces in what is seen as a first step towards possible formation of a Third Front


UPA ally NCP shares stage with Nitish and Mulayam, says need to keep 'options' (© Reuters)

New Delhi: Traces of a Third Front emerged Wednesday in time for the 2014 general election as 14 parties from across India shared a dais here and vowed to combat the threat of communalism.

The gathering, convened by Left parties, brought together Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as well as representatives of the AIADMK, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Although there was no formal talk of a Third Front to take on both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the 14 parties resolved to preserve communal amity.

The communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh in September which left around 50 people dead and rendered 43,000 homeless were the trigger for the meet.

A resolution passed at the convention accused communal forces of "again seeking to ... create communal tensions" ahead of the Lok Sabha election due next year.

"This has resulted in the outbreak of communal incidents in various parts of the country. The riots in Muzaffarnagar are the most glaring example."

A clear hint about a possible Third Front was given by Nitish Kumar, who said that his Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and other parties should ponder how to mobilise "democratic forces" to defeat "communal forces".

"There is no new front here but we will have to think how the democratic forces can be united based on issues," he said.

"One hundred percent unity will not be possible but we must explore whatever is practical and possible," he said, adding that "the people of India are secular".

Mulayam Singh Yadav agreed. "If these 14 parties come together, communal forces cannot succeed," he said, in an obvious reference to the BJP and its affiliates.

Parties broadly clubbed the Third Front contend that neither the BJP nor the Congress may be able to form a government on their own after the Lok Sabha polls in view of the widely expected fractured verdict.

Mulayam Singh said there was a deliberate move to create communal tensions in Uttar Pradesh.

Nitish Kumar echoed him: "There is a clear attempt to disturb communal amity.

"Some people are uncomfortable with our Ganga-Jamuna tehzib... They feel that if there are riots, if there is bloodshed, they will reap the benefits."

(Continued)
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