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Patnaik to play key role in Third Front

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
March 15, 2009 21:20 IST
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Declaring that the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Third Front would be decided after the elections, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati hosted a dinner for the leaders of the grouping and resolved to defeat the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Deomocratic Alliance.

Estranged NDA ally -- Biju Janata Dal- also made an appearance at the Front meeting but the leaders maintained there was no Front as such and that it was only a grouping of like-minded parties with many of them having seat sharing arrangements. 

Before going for the dinner, the 10-party front leaders met at the CPI-M headquarters and issued a joint statement resolving to work together to defeat the Congress and BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

The BJD, which last week pulled out of the NDA, sent its representative Jay Panda to the Front meeting on Sunday. The BJD had stayed away from the Front's launch in Tumkur.
Amongst those who participated in the meeting were former prime minister Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular, Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, A B Bardhan and D Raja of CPI, Jay Panda of the Biju Janata Dal, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu, K Chandershekhar  of the Telangana Rashtriya Samaiti. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam boycotted the meeting. Navin Patnaik is likely to make a formal announcement about the agenda of Sunday's parleys.

Additional inputs: PTI

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi