Disgruntled politicians gather for ‘fourth front’

April 19th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by admin  

Vrindavan/New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Unhappy over being pushed to the sidelines, a few political leaders, including George Fernandes, Subramaniam Swamy and K.N. Govindacharya, Saturday gathered in Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh to explore the possibility of forging a “fourth front”. The two-day gathering, which began Saturday, is being jointly organised by the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan (RSA) run by Govindacharya and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), a subsidiary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Govindacharya formed the RSA after being ousted from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) some years ago for his criticism of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The RSS patronage of the conference was evident from the presence of important functionary Madan Dass Devi. Also present was Balbir Punj, a functionary of the BJP and a known member of party stalwart L.K. Advani’s “think tank”.

Another notable BJP member present was Raghunandan Sharma, who returned to the party as a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh only a few days back. He was till recently an important functionary of Uma Bharti’s Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS).

Also present was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convenor George Fernandes, who despite enjoying a high office in the NDA, is only on the periphery of his party, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) that has pushed him to the margins of Bihar politics, though he is elected to parliament from the state.

Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy was also present. Of late he is being actively patronised by the Sangh parivar.

Journalist Ram Bahadur Rai, a close confidant of Govindacharaya, threw up the idea of a “fourth front” and was enthusiastically supported by others - buttressing the feeling that the convention was aimed at creating a political alternative to the BJP and the NDA that has the BJP as its largest constituent.

To confirm the hunch, Govindacharaya told IANS: “I wouldn’t call it a fourth or fifth front. This is just an attempt to form the right front.”

Replying to a question about the participation of the front in the coming Lok Sabha polls, he said, “Maybe this might influence the coming Lok Sabha elections.”

Fernandes avoided a direct reply, saying instead: “It’s not proper to say anything right now since no front has been formed so far”.

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