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Third Front: Rising from the ashes?
Vicky Nanjappa & Krishnakumar P
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July 19, 2008 22:47 IST

With just over two days remaining for the trust vote, hectic political activity continues in New Delhi.

5 more Samajwadi MPs may desert UPA

Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have a point to prove to each other, but on Saturday the major development taking place was regarding the meeting of the regional parties with a view of rejuvenating the Third Front, which was a force to reckon with in the mid 1990s.

Special: An Alliance in Crisis

The exit of Shahid Siddiqui from the Samajwadi Party, the presence of Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu [Images], non-committal stand by Janata Dal-Secular supremo H D Deve Gowda were all indications that there was a hope of the Third Front being revived in the country.

Since Saturday morning, leaders like Mayawati, Chandrababu Naidu and even Shahid Siddiqui dropped hints about the formation of a Third Front.

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However, towards the evening it became clear that the regional parties and even the Left were serious about having an alternative government at the Centre.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders A B Bardhan, D Raja and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu were all holed up in Deve Gowda's Safdarjung residence discussing the modalities of a Third Front. Prior to this meeting, BSP leader S Mishra too called on Gowda to discuss the same issue.

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Mishra is the man, who formulated the BSP's assembly election strategy, and his presence in a meeting of these leaders shows how serious Mayawati is to explore this new political alliance.

Gowda since the past one week had remained non-committal regarding his decision to vote in favour of the Congress.

Sources close to him told that Gowda had always dreamt of the emergence of a third front and felt that if he voted against the Congress this would become a reality.

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Earlier during the day, Chandrababu Naidu said publicly in New Delhi that there was every chance of reviving the third front and if the same happened then Mayawati would be the best candidate for the post of prime minister.

The Left and the rest of the parties too feel that Mayawati is the best choice for the post of prime minister.
They feel that both the Congress and the BJP may win less than 100 seats each in the forthcoming elections as the trend now is to vote for regional parties. They feel that Mayawati who is capable of doing a balancing act with the electorate will get the most MPs and hence she would be the best person to head the government.

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These parties also feel that the TDP will gain ground in Andhra Pradesh and hence would be a major contributing force. Further they also plan to rope in Chiranjeevi [Images], who is floating a new party.

On Sunday talks are likely to be held with Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, who is seen as a potential member of a third front.

Learn all about: Trust Vote | Whip | Nuke deal

The question that is now being asked is what Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar [Images] and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav would do considering the fact that both had indicated that they would be interested in joining a Third Front provided it was a credible force.

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