Non-BJP, non-Congress parties launch Third Front (Lead, Changing dateline)

March 12th, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Tumkur (Karnataka), March 12 (IANS) Nine political parties from across the country gathered here Thursday to launch a Third Front, which its leaders said would strive to be an alternative to both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nationally.
Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda, the prime force behind the show of strength, and other opposition leaders called upon the people to vote for a “democratic and secular” government in the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

“This is a historic get-together of all the democratic, secular and Left parties to declare that we are all coming together to constitute a third force in this country,” declared Prakash Karat, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary who was the first of the leaders to address the rally in English.

He said the non-BJP, non-Congress coalition would stand for the interests of the vast majority of Indians, defend secular values and fight for social justice.

“Today, we have come together because the country needs a new alternative,” he added.

Karat, whose party withdrew support to the Congress-led government in July last year over the India-US nuclear deal, said successive governments had failed to resolve grave economic problems confronting the country.

Sixty years after independence, he said, 230 million people were suffering in poverty, 40 percent of children below three years did not have enough to eat, 50 percent of women were anaemic and 39 percent of the people were illiterate,

The CPI-M leader recalled the United Front government led by Deve Gowda that took office in 1996 with the backing of the Left.

“In 1996, the people of India came to know that the future of this country does not lie with either the Congress party or the BJP,” he said.

Also attending the Tumkur rally are leaders of the Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Bloc, Telugu Desam Party, AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

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