Left leaders meet Gowda over lunch

August 21st, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Taking forward their talk of forming a Third Front, leaders of the two main Left parties met Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda here Thursday.Unwilling to divulge the nature of talks they held with Gowda over lunch, Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A. B. Bardhan told reporters, “We discussed the latest political developments in the country.”

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI secretary D. Raja also attended the two-hour luncheon meeting at Gowda’s residence.

The meeting was marked by the absence of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.

Om Prakash Chauthala of the Indian National Lok Dal and N. Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam party - two other major constituents of the proposed Third Front - also were not present at the luncheon meeting.

Gowda was equally tight-lipped about what transpired at the meeting, saying he was “with the Left parties and there is no ambiguity on this”.

The former prime minister said he had a long relationship with the Left parties as they had supported him to become prime minister in 1996.

On the formation of the Third Front, Gowda said: “Currently the final shape of the alliance is not known. There is no Laxman Rekha to it as of now”.

Both Bardhan and Gowda refused to comment on the absence of Ajit Singh and Mayawati - the other two key members of the grouping who had earlier joined hands with the Left and the JD-S with the aim of toppling the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during the crucial July 22 floor test in parliament.

There is speculation that the relationship between Ajit Singh and Mayawati has soured after the BSP chief announced that her party would contest all Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

The two leaders had joined hands to oust the Congress-led UPA with the understanding that the RLD and BSP would jointly fight the next general elections.

While Gowda merely said he has been meeting Ajit Singh regularly and may meet him again Thursday, Bardhan replied that Ajit Singh was “entitled to his own opinion” over the seat sharing issue.

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