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Nitish breaks bread with Left, informally

- CPM boss hints at formal meeting soon

New Delhi, Feb. 10: Nitish Kumar today had an “informal” meeting with the Left party leaders at the residence of JD(S) chief Deve Gowda to discuss the formation of a possible third front but CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said it would take shape only after the Lok Sabha polls.

Nitish termed the meeting with CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and other Left party leaders as an “informal” interaction and said a formal meeting would take place soon. “It was an informal meeting. There will be a formal meeting soon,” Nitish said after the breakfast meeting.

Nitish was in the national capital to participate in an official function at Vigyan Bhavan, where President Pranab Mukherjee gave away Krishi Karman Award 2012-13 to Bihar farmers Kalpana Prakash and Mohammad Zahid Khan for commendable wheat production despite drought last year. (Picture on page 6)

After the morning meeting, Karat said: “We just discussed about how to take this forward. Since Mr Nitish Kumar is in Delhi, we got the opportunity to discuss directly with him. We are working out about how to take it forward.”

Later in the day, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury used history to rule out the formation of a political front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

“There is not going to be a front prior to the elections… From 1977 till today, whenever there has been an alliance, it has happened after the polls,” Yechury said when asked about the meeting between Nitish and the Left leaders.

Yechury said after the current Parliament session, leaders of the 11 non-Congress and non-BJP parties would hold a meeting to decide on the future course of action. So far, these parties have decided to act as a bloc in Parliament to oppose both the Congress and the BJP.

For Nitish, the target is Narendra Modi-led BJP and he is eager to give shape to a political front comprising regional parties, to take on the “communal forces”. Apart from the Left, the other parties in the bloc are SP, AIADMK, BJD, JD(U), JD(S), JVM and AGP.

At the morning meeting, the Left leaders took up the need to announce an alternative set of policies to counter the BJP and the Congress, sources said. Left leaders said a committee comprising members of all the parties in the bloc would be formed to frame a set of alternative policies.

The CPM has already framed a set of “alternative policies” and wants the partners in the proposed front to agree to it. The CPM has adopted the line that “alternative policies” are much more important than the formation of an alternative government.

“The whole aim is to formulate pro-people economic policies and protect the people from the communal forces,” Yechury said.

The Left, after burning their fingers in 2009, is wary to announce a political front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Party leaders fear that the “power hungry and opportunistic regional parties” could change colours depending on the poll results.

The Left wants the regional parties to agree on “alternative policies” before taking ahead the idea of a third front.

Left seat demand, Page 4


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