Maya magic medicine perks up third front

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 20.07.08
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New Delhi, July 20: Last Sunday the Left-backed third front was on ventilator; this Sunday it is up and flexing its biceps. The magic steroid: Mayavati.

When CPM boss Prakash Karat drove to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s Delhi residence on July 13 and CPI chief A.B. Bardhan burnt up the phone lines talking to her, they were only trying to secure her support for the anti-nuclear deal campaign.

But when Karat and party colleague Sitaram Yechury left A.K. Gopalan Bhavan around 1.30pm today for a lunch meeting at Telugu Desam leader Yerran Naidu’s residence, on their radar was a new political alignment.

The formula: the United National Progressive Alliance (now minus the Samajwadi Party) plus the Bahujan Samaj Party and plus, hopefully, new members.

Desam boss N. Chandrababu Naidu played host at the lunch, where the guests included the Asom Gana Parishad, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Janata Dal (Secular) and the four Left parties.

Last Sunday, the July 22 trust vote had been uppermost on Karat’s mind when he met Mayavati. Today, the CPM general secretary spoke of July 23, when a UNPA meeting is scheduled in the morning.

After saying the CPM central committee had asked the politburo to rally all forces opposed to the deal, Karat added: “The UNPA, BSP, JD(S), RLD and the Left parties have decided to work together. We will meet after the trust vote to decide the future course of action.”

He sounded bullish about the third front’s future, saying: “More such forces are joining us. There will be a way forward after the trust vote. More and more forces are coming together to fight the government.”

The past week marks a burying of the hatchet between the CPM and Mayavati, whose mentor Kanshi Ram had famously described the Left as a “green snake on green grass”.

The Marxists had a problem with Mayavati’s caste-based politics, her campaign in favour of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat election, and her past use of BJP support to ascend the chief minister’s chair.

Mayavati can now hope that the Left association will bring her the “secular” certificate at a time she is poaching Muslim Samajwadi MPs to try and add minority voters to her already powerful Dalit-Brahmin axis.

Karat underlined the break with the Samajwadis by accusing the former ally of “betraying the country” three times.

“This is not the first time that the SP is doing so. It has betrayed the country and others twice earlier in 1999 and in 2002. This is the third time.”

He told the government it was “doomed” on Tuesday and that if it tried to push the nuclear deal even after losing the trust vote, the country would “revolt”.

“We wish to warn this government that in case you lose the trust vote, don’t try and push the nuclear deal. The country will revolt,” the CPM general secretary said after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the party’s central committee.

“The deal will be doomed and the government will be doomed on July 22.”