Even as 11 non-Congress and non-BJP parties came together on Wednesday to stitch together an alliance ahead of the 2014 elections, signalling an emergence of a ‘Third Front’, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi caustically remarked that these parties would make India a “third rate country”.
Modi’s blistering attack during his first rally in Kolkata on these parties, which have 92 LS members between them in the current House, stems from the fact that the Third Front declared secularism as its credo stating that Modi was their prime target.
The 11 parties including the four Left parties (CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc, RSP), AIADMK, Janata Dal (U), Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal, Asom Gana Parishad and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha for the first time came together on one platform to announce their agenda. Leaders of these parties jointly held a press conference on the first day of Parliament saying they would now sit as a block in the House.
This strategy was intended to show them as an alternative to the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA and pitch for pro-people, anti-communal and federal agenda inside Parliament.
“This is the first step after the October 23 meeting. We are aligning non-Congress, non-BJP parties in both houses,”
JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said at the joint press conference.
“We will have a common agenda, and we will take up issues of concern to the common man in Parliament,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury declared, adding that only the Third Front can promote secularism in the country.
Gujarat CM Plays the Pranab card
Modi blamed the Gandhi family for twice denying Pranab the opportunity to become PM — in 1984 when Rajiv dropped him from the Cabinet; and in 2004 when Sonia opted for Manmohan Singh to lead UPA. Modi, however, took a soft line on Mamata perhaps with an eye on future political realignment.