Third Front may rule India

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 27 May 2002 22:56 IST

The Nationalist Congress Party has given a clear indication of moves afoot to build a third front, aiming at forming an alternative government, in case the NDA government collapses at the centre.

"I cannot tell you all the details, but can definitely confirm that moves are on in this direction", said Purno Sangma, the national general secretary of the NCP.

According to Sangma, who is down in Goa on an election campaign, the BJP-led coalition at the centre can collapse any moment if the leadership could not fill in the cracks that are getting developed, with its allies differing with the BJP on crucial issues like secularism.

Though Congress would be the immediate alternative in such a situation, Sangma claimed that neither the NCP nor leaders like Chandrababu Naidu, Mulayam Singh Yadav or Jayalalitha will agree to Sonia Gandhi as the prime minister.

Since the prime minister's post in the Congress is reserved only for the Gandhi family, the former speaker also feels a very remote possibility of the Congress posing another leader as the prime minister.

The only alternative in such a situation, he says, is to bring together the non-Congress non-BJP forces together, paving for the third front to explore the possibility to form an alternate government.

He also does not rule out the possibility of his party president Sharad Pawar emerging as a consensus candidate for the prime minister.

According to Sangma, several parties are opposed to making any person of foreign origin as the prime minister. Even the constitutional review commission has recommended to keep such elements away from taking over any constitutional post in the country.

Though the NCP in Goa is contesting only 20 seats out of 40, Sangma calls it a beginning while claiming that his party is emerging as a third major national party in the country. "India needs a third alternative at this stage and we can provide it", he said.


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