17 Maharashtra parties form 'Force One' for polls

Written by: IANS
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Mumbai, Feb 11: As many as 17 small and regional political parties in Maharashtra have formed "Force One" to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, a political leader said Tuesday.

"Force One" convenor and Awami Vikas Party (AVP) president Shamsher Khan Pathan said the new front will not be allied with any of the existing major political parties.

"We shall present ourselves as an alternative to the existing alliances of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, the grand alliance of saffron parties, and others like Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Samajwadi Party and the rest," Pathan, a retired assistant police commissioner of Mumbai, told IANS.

The 17 parties - with a few more likely to join in the next few weeks - have agreed on a common minimum programme (CMP) which will culminate in a common election agenda for the two elections.

When asked whether it would join hands with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Pathan replied in the affirmative, but with a rider that "they must accept our CMP in toto".

"Though we will project ourselves as an alternative, we will cooperate with any of the existing parties who accept our CMP fully," he explained.

The CMP points include: Not to allow foreign direct investment in India; approval for the anti-communal violence bill; implementation of the Sachar Committee report; full implementation of Mehmud-ur-Rehman Committee report in Maharashtra; a ban on all Hindu fanatic organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Sanatan Sanstha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal; immediate clearance for a B.R. Ambedkar memorial in Dadar's Indu Mill compound.

The 17 parties include Dalits, Muslims and other minorities, backward classes, Marathas and those who are committed to secular ideals and are working for the benefit of the common masses, he said.

Pathan said the front unanimously condemns all terror outfits and terrorist activities in the country which have no place in a peace-loving society like ours.

Depending on the candidates, Pathan said "Force One" hopes to contest all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state independently or in alliance with like-minded parties, and ditto with the state assembly elections, to be held at the end of 2014.


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