Thursday rally in Karnataka to launch Third Front

March 10th, 2009 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 10 (IANS) Eleven years after Karnataka hosted the birth of the Janata Dal, the state will play host Thursday to one more attempt to build a Third Front to take on the two nationally dominant parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In 1988 it was Karnataka’s charismatic leader Ramakrishna Hegde who brought together the warring Janata Parivar to launch the Janata Dal which saw V.P. Singh, who had fallen out with then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors gun scandal, become the prime minister a year later.

Now, it is Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda who has invited leaders of the Left parties, Telegu Desam, AIADMK and some small parties to join him at a rally near Tumkur, 70 km from here, Thursday as part of efforts to firm up a third alternative ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in April-May.

The rally may not mark the formal birth of a Third Front but the process will be launched that day.

“It will be launched on March 12. Several developments will take place after that. We do not know who all will join later. Naveen Patnaik (Orissa chief minister) may join,” Deve Gowda told IANS.

Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan echoed Deve Gowda’s assessment.

“Finalisation will take time,” Bardhan told IANS by phone from New Delhi. “I will attend. I do not know about others.”

Deve Gowda said that besides Bardhan, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu, Telengana Rashtra Samiti president K. Chandrashekar Rao and leaders of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Forward Bloc will attend the rally.

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK president J. Jayalalitha, however, will not attend though she has been invited. “She is deputing her representative,” Deve Gowda said.

Ahead of the rally, Deve Gowda has been visiting temples in Tamil Nadu. Asked whether he was meeting Jayalalitha, the JD-S leader said: “I am in Tamil Nadu visiting temples”.

Third Front is not an agreed name for the proposed formation though Deve Gowda has been calling the grouping so.

Deve Gowda and leaders of the Left parties and Telugu Desam are optimistic about the prospects of the front in the Lok Sabha polls.

The breakdown of the over decade-long alliance between the BJP and the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Orissa has come as a boon for the Third Front parties.

The presence of top leaders of the Left and other parties at the rally will be a morale booster for Deve Gowda’s party workers and supporters to take on the BJP, which rules Karnataka.

The Janata Dal, launched in Bangalore in 1988, has split several times to become the JD-S, Janata Dal-United, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, All India Progressive Janata Dal and Biju Janata Dal et al.

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