The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gowda sings Third Front dirge

Calcutta, June 7: Former Prime Minister and leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) H.D. Deve Gowda today announced the death of one of the most colourful political combinations of recent times: the Third Front.

“I have lost interest in reviving the Third Front and think it wiser to strengthen my own party rather than spending time for something that has lost its relevance,” Gowda told a news conference at the Calcutta Press Club today.

Gowda said his party will contest 50 Lok Sabha seats in next year’s elections without any party’s support.

On a day’s visit to the city, the former Prime Minister said though Left parties had worked hard for the revival of the beleaguered Front, it was to no avail.

“I compliment them (Left parties) for their initiative to rejuvenate the Front. But nothing concrete has materialised despite their serious efforts. And that is why I have decided to concentrate on strengthening my own party,” he said.

Gowda, however, felt that secular and democratic forces would come together to forge an alliance after the next Lok Sabha poll as “it will be their political compulsion to thwart the BJP in forming the government for a second time”.

He also felt that many of the 23 constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will quit the coalition as the BJP was trying to run the government according to the political ideology of the party, caring little about the common interests of the coalition. “But I am not sure how many of such parties will join the secular and democratic forces to form an alternative to the BJP-led coalition government,” he former Prime Minister said.

He also said his party will maintain equi distance from both the BJP and Congress while contesting the next Lok Sabha elections as both the parties were “political opportunists” and very much eager to grab power at the Centre.

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