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|January 7, 1998||
UF move sparks speculation on ties with Congress
The United Front's decision to leave 28 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra for secular parties has triggered speculation that the combine has reached a tacit understanding with the Congress.
The United Front will contest only 20 seats in the state in the general election.
Announcing this, Communist Party of India general secretary A B Bardhan asserted that the UF decision should not be construed as 'any tacit understanding' with the Congress.
''We are concentrating only on those seats where the UF visualises its victory in the election (against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine),'' said Bardhan.
Curiously, the UF leader was at pains to refute speculation that Union Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party has already entered into a secret agreement with the Congress in Maharashtra. ''Yadav had made it clear to the UF leaders that he was not going with the Congress,'' he added.
Several SP leaders, however, have been saying that their party was not averse to lend support to the Congress where the latter was in a position to effectively take on the BJP.
The UF core committee will meet in New Delhi on January 12 to finalise a seat-sharing arrangement among its 13 constituents in different states.
The UF leaders would also give finishing touches to the draft of the combine's proposed common minimum programme.
As for the newly formed Jan Morcha, Bardhan sarcastically asked, ''Where is its main constituent, the Congress?''
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