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Third front clutches at Modi straw

New Delhi, Dec. 25: The wannabe third front is dusting its tools of the trade, just in case the ripples of the Gujarat outcome give the forgotten formation some momentum.

Narendra Modi’s thumping victory is expected to add to the urgency of “secular forces” such as the Congress and the Left to stay together but the United National Progressive Alliance is seeing an opportunity to cement itself and nurse hopes that the communists will eventually join its bandwagon.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a key constituent of the UNPA, has expedited efforts to put in place an economic programme for the front that would fit into the Left’s third alternative formula.

The TDP has grabbed the chance to stem the pro-Congress vacillation in a section of the Samajwadi Party — a UNPA constituent led by Mulayam Singh Yadav — and to push the front into an alliance with the Left.

A preliminary report of the Devendra Gaud committee, set up by the TDP to redraft its economic programme in accordance with that of the Left, has been circulated among the constituents of the UNPA. “The report has been circulated to arrive at a consensus. Once that happens, we will approach the Left parties for a structured alliance,” a senior TDP leader said.

The TDP has also instructed the Gaud committee to submit the final report in January itself, the leader said.

The Left has been insisting that the third alternative would have to be based on common programmes and joint struggles and not just on opposition to the Congress and the BJP.

For the past few months, a section of the Samajwadi Party had been toying with the idea of courting the Congress to stall the BSP in Uttar Pradesh. But such thoughts appeared to be receding after the Congress’s crushing defeat in Gujarat.

“The Congress is being rejected by the people. It has become unable to defeat the communal forces. Only a third front by non-Congress secular parties can now accomplish this task,” Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh said. He exhorted the Left parties to leave the Congress and form a third alternative.

UNPA sources said they expected a formal alliance with the Left after the party congresses of the CPM and the CPI between March and April.

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