Mulayam, NCP form Third Front for Bihar polls

LUCKNOW (TIP): The Samajwadi Party (SP) on September 17 joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and two other outfits and announced the formation of a ‘Third Front’ for the Bihar assembly elections.

Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav announced the alliance and said that other than the SP and NCP, former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma’s National People’s Party and Samajwadi Janata Dal (Secular) would also be the constituents of the front.

The SJD (Secular) was formed by Devendra Prasad Yadav, who parted ways with Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Yadav said that the candidates of the new front for the first phase of Bihar polls would be announced on Friday.

Earlier, senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Raghunath Jha joined the Samajwadi Party and said that RJD leader and former chief minister Lalu Prasad had ditched him.

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“It was I who made him the chief minister and now he has deserted me… the only real socialist leader after Ram Manohar Lohia is Mulayam Singh Yadav,” Jha said.He said the Third Front would be a force to reckon with in the coming Bihar elections. Meanwhile, Ram Gopal Yadav trained his guns on Lalu Prasad and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said that he had seen through their nefarious design in time and severed his party’s relations with the grand alliance. “At the centre of the matter was our party symbol. Had they succeded in usurping our (election) symbol, the Samajwadi Party would have been finished,” he added.

No CM face for BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided not to project a chief ministerial candidate for the Bihar assembly polls because of fears of a caste backlash but its list of potential leaders for the post has kept growing.

Veterans in the BJP, who have served the party in different capacities at the Centre and in the state, feel they should be named as the chief ministerial candidate.

Leading the pack of hopefuls is Sushil Kumar Modi, who served as deputy chief minister in the JD-U-NDA government headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Modi is considered the frontrunner for the top job if the NDA comes to power because of his experience as leader of opposition in the state legislature and his varied administrative experience.

As the deputy chief minister, he handled nine portfolios, including finance in fund-starved Bihar, and headed the GST panel of chief ministers. Modi also has the blessings of top RSS leaders since he had served the organisation as a full-time member from 1977 to 1986.

But there are others like Nand Kishore Yadav, the current leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly and a prominent Yadav face. As convenor of the NDA, he rendered yeoman service in ironing out differences between alliance partners.

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