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Meet to mend front cracks

New Delhi, Dec. 17: United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) leaders will meet tomorrow to sort out differences over their approach to the Congress and the CPM.

Fissures have emerged in the front with a section of the Samajwadi Party leaders favouring a softening of the party’s hardline stance towards the Congress and the Telugu Desam trying to push the alliance closer to the CPM.

But sources said the divergence of views was too strong to be narrowed in one meeting.

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala has expressed reservations about the moves to get closer to the Congress or the CPM, saying the alliance must have an independent image, the sources said.

Tomorrow’s closed-door meeting will be preceded by a conference on farmers — the alliance’s theme when it was set up.

Other than Chautala, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh and Desam boss N. Chandrababu Naidu are likely to be present at the talks.

On the Congress, Chautala and others believe that a soft stand towards the party goes against the very foundation of the front.

The Samajwadi Party is divided on the issue. The cracks in the party came to the fore during the debate on the nuclear deal in Parliament. In the Lok Sabha, it took a soft stand but joined the Left and the NDA walkout against the controversial pact in the Rajya Sabha days later.

The Desam, locked in a battle with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, was too confused to even participate in the Lok Sabha debate on the deal. It regained its confidence only when Amar Singh said in the Rajya Sabha that the Samajwadi Party opposed the agreement.

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