Smaller parties discuss confidence vote with Deve Gowda

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (UNI) In an effort to show that the third front was still a potent force even after the desertion of the Samajwadi Party from the United National Progressive Alliance flagship, several small parties have been conducting meetings with former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda to decide on their course of action during the crucial vote of confidence.

Leaders, including Mr Yerran Naidu of Telugu Desam, Mr Ajit Singh of Rashtiya Lok Dal, Mr Biren Baisya of the Asom Gana Parishad and former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, met with Mr Gowda yesterday. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekhara Rao had a telephonic conversation with the former Prime Minister.

The leaders were not ready to disclose their preference as they know the value of their 13 votes, if cast collectively, in the vote of confidence.

In a related development, JD (S) Secretary General Kunwar Danish Ali met CPI(M) chief Prakash Karat for 30 minutes at the CPI(M) headquarters today.

Mr Ali told reporters that his party was for India pursuing its own independent foreign policy but the Indo-US nuclear deal had ''compromised'' with that.

Asked which way his party would proceed, he gave an ambiguous reply, saying, ''Our support is for secular forces,'' but declined to elaborate any further, giving a hint of the possibilty of the parties taking a decision either way as the JD(S), the Left and the Congress were ''secular parties''.


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