‘Fourth front’ takes off from Mulayam land

April 9th, 2009 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Saefai (Uttar Pradesh), April 9 (IANS) Three regional satraps raised their first poll battle cry Thursday when Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan declared that their alliance was here to stay.
“We are one and will continue to remain one,” was the keyword at the joint rally of what is being called the ‘fourth front’ and which drew fabulous, excited crowds that seemed to believe every word of what the three leaders were busy impressing upon them.

However, each sought to reaffirm their faith in the return of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to power after the April-May elections. The rally came barely a week after they announced their decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls together.

“Nothing can separate us now,” declared Mulayam Singh. Lalu Prasad said: “We will also contest the state assembly elections together”. Paswan said: “The united strength of the three states represented by us - Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh - will determine who will occupy the prime minister’s chair.”

The three leaders got together at Mulayam Singh’s home village Saefai in Etawah district which he has almost transformed into a modern urban oasis in an otherwise backward belt.

Having aligned after a gap of about eight years, they took turns to reassure the crowds that their grouping would play a role in the formation of a new government.

Lalu Prasad said: “If it were not for Mulayam Singh Yadav, the UPA government would not be sitting in power today.” He was referring to the Samajwadi Party’s decision to prop up the Congress-led government after the Left withdrew its legislative support over the India-US nuclear deal.

Training their guns at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), they avoided any direct criticism of the Congress, which leads the UPA, perhaps with a view to keeping their options open for the post-poll scenario.

Lalu Prasad chose to attack the Congress in an oblique manner and said: “As far as the Congress is concerned, it is still trying to find its bearings and hardly exists in the battle against us in any of our three states. So one need not bother about it.”

Predicting doom for the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP, Lalu Prasad said: “NDA is on a disintegration path and will soon cease to exist.”

He said he was not scared of criminal cases against him on account of his criticism of BJP candidate Varun Gandhi.

Paswan chose to train his guns more pointedly on BSP chief Mayawati. “Using the name of Ambedkar, Mayawati was busy projecting herself and now instead of Ambedkar, she is busy putting up her own statues.”

Accusing Mayawati of allowing her Dalit party to be completely dominated by upper caste Brahmins, Paswan said: “Mayawati is busy making money and is least bothered about the plight of poor Dalits who are more oppressed and harassed under her administration than ever before.”

Mulayam Singh was brief as he welcomed the others on his home turf and said that “nothing would separate them now”.

Samajwadi Party general secretaries Amar Singh and Sanjay Dutt could not make it to Saefai but joined the others for subsequent rallies through the day in Barielly, Gorakhpur and Varanasi, where the trio went about echoing the same message.

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