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Third front taking shape in Asom

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Mar 6: Desperate attempts are being made to cobble up a third front in Asom as not only an alternative to Congress and BJP, but also to open up the possibility of forming the next government in the state.

In fact, Asom has emerged as the first testing ground for the formation of a Third Front with the regional forces, Left parties and minority parties with little or no relevance trying to come together, besides the national level parties.

''The third front is likely to be comprised of both the factions of the AGP, CPI, CPM, NCP, Asom United Democratic Front(AUDF),'' said former speaker and NCP leader P A Sangma, whose residence at Guwahati has become 'ground zero' for these forces.

In fact, the AGP has also opened up their own effort to have a third front and want the ASDC, CPI, CPM on board. But it is not ready to give much room to manouvre to AUDF and NCP. But keeping the greater goal in sight, the AGP has roped in TDP and Samawavadi Party although both have no relevance in Asom.

The only irritant is the breakaway AGP(P), which the AGP does not want to recognise, but the Left parties are trying to get that faction also to have a grand alliance.

Meanwhile, the last night meeting of the NCP-UDF-CPM authorised UDF leader Badaruddin Ajmal to talk with both AGP and AGP(P) and set a deadline of 1900 hours today to seal their support.

''If that is not happening, then at least CPI, NCP and UDF will go alone,'' he said. The AGP has sensed that power is within striking distance and is now talking big.

Despite the fact that TDP and SP in Asom are more ornamental, the Left parties' coming together with the TD after the fall of the United Front government at the Centre in 1998 will have some significane, said AGP spokesman Jagadish Bhuyan, who was in Hyderabad.

Not that TD and the Samajwadi Party have much of a presence in Asom, but it is being regarded as an indication towards an experiment which could finally take shape in the national political scenario. The relationship between the Congress and the Left is apparently on the downhill, following the pro-US foreign policy being pursued by the UPA government.

The proposed third front in Assam would oppose both the BJP and the Congress. The top leaders of the TD, SP and NCP will visit Asom to campaign for the forthcoming polls. The AGP also intends to bring in other ethnic outfits to 'form a broad-based democratic and secular alliance,' said Mr Goswami.

Though the AGP intends to fight 100 of the 126 Assembly berths in the state, the party has said that it is 'open to seat adjustments', sources said.

UNI

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