Federal Front has more votes than Congress, BJP: Sharad Yadav
The "Federal Front" of 11 regional parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal-United and AIADMK, has more geographical reach and vote share than either the Congress or BJP, JD-U president Sharad Yadav has said and claimed the front will form the next government after the Lok Sabha polls.
Yadav said the joint front was the "first front" and not the "third front" as the conglomeration of parties outside the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance is usually referred to in the media. Yadav termed the coming together of 11 parties as "Federal Front" and claimed it enjoyed the largest support among the electorate.
"The next government will be formed by this front. Only then will the democracy and constitution be saved. More people are with this morcha than they are with Congress or BJP. More geographical space is also with us," Yadav told IANS in an interview at his residence.
The 11 parties, besides the Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) and AIADMK, include the Asom Gana Parishad, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, Janata Dal (Secular), Biju Janata Dal and the four Left parties. They met Feb 5 to work out joint floor strategy for the extended winter session of parliament that ended Feb 21.
These parties, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc, are expected to meet Feb 25 to announce the decision to project an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The parties also attended a convention against communalism in October last year.
Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also talked of a "federal front" forming a government in New Delhi after the general elections but has not spelled out its contours.
Yadav, 66, said that constituents of the 11-party front will contest the polls on their own strength in their areas of influence and there could be adjustments.
"In Delhi (there will be) a federal front. (The constituents) in their own way, in their pockets, will contest elections," said Yadav, who was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Madhepur, Bihar.
Yadav, a former union minister, said that the constituents of the front were working to get majority in the Lok Sabha elections expected April-May.
The JD-U, Yadav said, will contest all 40 seats in Bihar besides a few more seats in other parts of the country in the Lok Sabha elections.
Asked about the prime ministerial candidate of the front, Yadav said the coalition of non-BJP, non-Congress parties has not projected a person for the post in the past.
"Tussle does not take place among us (on the nominee of prime minister). History is a witness," Yadav said referring to election of V.P. Singh, H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K Gujral as prime ministers from the National Front and United Front.
V.P. Singh, Deve Gowda and Gujral belonged to the Janata Dal, which has witnessed splits over the years. "We will decide (the prime ministerial nominee) after the elections. There will be no difficulty," Yadav said.
Referring to the party's ties with the BJP Yadav said that his party's erstwhile ally had deviated from the "national agenda" agreed between them. The JD-U broke ties with the BJP in June last year over growing projection of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the party. The BJP subsequently named Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
Yadav recalled that the JD-U and BJP were together in agitations against the United Progressive Alliance government.
"When it came to reaping the crop, they thought they would do it themselves. They moved away from the national agenda," Yadav said.
Yadav sidestepped questions about the possibility of realignment with the BJP.
"Such questions have no meaning. We are in battle field now," he said.
The JD-U leader also said that democracy means taking everybody along.
"There is no progress without peace," he said.
Yadav attacked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, saying that people faced troubles and problems during its rule for the past five years.
"The country was virtually non-functional. (It appeared) there was no government," he said.
(Prashant Sood can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 24-02-2014)