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CM, Bardhan talk Third Front

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 22: Veteran CPI leader A.B. Bardhan and chief minister Naveen Patnaik met here today and sources said that the meeting was aimed at forging a Third Front of non-Congress and non-BJP parties before the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Significantly, the tete-a-tete between the two leaders at Naveen Nivas comes in the wake of general council of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) projecting its party chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa as a prime ministerial candidate.

Naveen, who continues to maintain equidistance from Congress and the BJP, is close to Jayalalithaa and has been working towards evolving an alternative to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by the BJP.

Describing his meeting with Naveen as positive, Bardhan said he had impressed upon Odisha chief minister the need for accelerating efforts to form a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre because people were craving for a change.

“The recent Assembly election in Delhi, where Aam Aadmi Party won 28 of the 70 seats, showed that people are searching for an alternative and steps must be taken to present a viable option before them,” said Bardhan.

Noting that many regional parties were not sharing power at the Centre, the Left leader said since most of these were anti-Congress and anti-BJP forces, efforts should also be made to work out state-specific understandings or alliances.

He said there was an urgent need to form a pre-poll alliance between the Left and regional parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Janata Dal (United) and the AIADMK to evolve an acceptable political alternative.

Both Bardhan and Naveen appear convinced that the much-hyped Modi factor had but a limited impact in the recent Assembly elections in the four states.

Sources said though AIADMK’s projection of Jayalalithaa as a prime ministerial candidate did not come up for discussion at the Naveen-Bardhan talk, the meeting did take note of regional aspirations and the increasing political clout of regional satraps at the national level with coalitions becoming the norm.

Though Naveen has, so far, not responded to the national aspirations of Jaylalithaa, the chances of him backing her to the hilt are not being ruled out given their closeness.

The two leaders have been on the same page on a number of issues including their opposition to the National Counter Terrorism Centre, which they have described as impinging upon the powers of states.