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Major coalitions reaffirm faith in allies with showcase rallies

Major coalitions reaffirm faith in allies with showcase rallies
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First Published: Sun, May 10 2009. 10 59 PM IST

New perspective: Narendra Modi (left) with Nitish Kumar at the National Democratic Alliance rally in Ludhiana, Punjab, on Sunday. PTI
New perspective: Narendra Modi (left) with Nitish Kumar at the National Democratic Alliance rally in Ludhiana, Punjab, on Sunday. PTI
Updated: Sun, May 10 2009. 10 59 PM IST
New Delhi: India’s two major political formations on Sunday reaffirmed their ties with key allies in a show of strength ahead of the final phase of polls on 13 May.
New perspective: Narendra Modi (left) with Nitish Kumar at the National Democratic Alliance rally in Ludhiana, Punjab, on Sunday. PTI
On Saturday, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, or TRS, a party that fought the 2004 elections in alliance with the Left parties, had entered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), prompting analysts to say a major realignment of political parties is on the cards in the run-up to the formation of the next government. The results of the five-phase elections will be out on 16 May.
On Sunday, TRS leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao shared the dais with the leaders of the NDA in Ludhiana, an industrial town in Punjab.
Apart from Rao, those who attended the rally convened by Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal were BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, Janata Dal (United)’s Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh.
Kumar’s presence at the rally came amid overtures to him by the Congress and the Left for a post-poll tie-up. The rally saw Modi waving to the crowds along with Kumar, who had in an interview to a TV channel, expressed reluctance to share the dais with Modi.
With the TRS in its fold, the BJP is now claiming that more parties are expected to join its alliance after the counting of votes. “Everybody knows where the wind is blowing. There are more parties which will join the NDA after 16 May,” party’s chief strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni said.
Meanwhile, in Chennai, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi attended a joint rally with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi, reviving the sagging campaign of the DMK-Congress alliance in the state. This comes days after Congress general secretary and Gandhi family scion Rahul Gandhi warmed up to the DMK’s arch-rival J. Jayalalithaa by calling her party, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a “like-minded” one. The AIADMK is aligned with the Left parties in the state.
Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu (39 seats) and Puducherry (1 seat) will be held on 13 May.
With just a day left for the campaigning to the final phase of polls, Gandhi, the Congress president, addressed her sole election meeting with an ailing Karunanidhi by her side, saying that the Sri Lankan government had stopped combat operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the country’s northern war zone due to the “resolute efforts” of the Congress-led UPA government.
She made no reference to carving out Tamil Eelam from Sri Lanka, a demand raised by the AIADMK and its allies, which was later joined by Congress ally DMK.
With efforts for formation of a new government gathering momentum, analysts said there could be a lot of cross-movement of parties.
“Realignment of parties is bound to happen. With the kind of projections and results expected, cross-movement of parties could be the order of coming days. There is nothing holy or unholy in alliances. TRS, which seemed to be in the forefront of the Third Front, has deserted it to join the NDA. More surprises are in the offing,” said A.J. Philip, director, Pratichi Trust, a Delhi-based policy research organization and a former editor of The Tribune.
Unmidful of the TRS exit, the so-called Third Front, led by the Left parties, said it will work towards forming a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance at the Centre.
“The BJP’s plan to install L.K. Advani as prime minister will remain a dream. The Third Front is confident of its resolve to give a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative to the nation. The right picture would come to light only after the results are announced,” said Janata Dal (Secular) general secretary Daanish Ali.
JD(S), led by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, is part of the Third Front.
PTI contributed to this story.
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First Published: Sun, May 10 2009. 10 59 PM IST