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Mar 13, 2009 at 01:02am IST

Third Front to have common agenda for polls

Tumkur: The Third Front, launched by 10 parties with much fanfare near Tumkur on Thursday, will meet in New Delhi on March 15 to decide on a common agenda for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

"The leaders of the political parties constituting the Third Front will meet in Delhi March 15 to decide on a common strategy for the general elections.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati will also attend the meeting," Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu told reporters on the sidelines of a political rally at Dobbaspet, about 20 km from here.

FINDING COMMON INTEREST: The Third Front, launched by 10 parties with much fanfare on Thursday.

The Third Front will also chalk out a campaign plan to hold similar rallies across the country and explain to people the need for an alternative force at the centre, which will have parties not aligned with the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"We have been working on this (Third Front) for the last two-three years. Now that there is polarisation, all secular, democratic and Left parties have come together with a common cause. We will decide on an agenda that will be put into action before and after the elections," Naidu said before leaving the venue.

Meanwhile, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda said Third Front leaders will finalise the policies and programmes on which these parties will campaign at the national and regional levels.

"The Third Front parties will fight the elections on a common platform consisting of unique policies and programmes that are pro-people, pro-farmer and pro-poor. As national issues are common and state issues specific, we will have a consensus on them," Deve Gowda said at the rally.

Naidu said economic agenda will be common for all the parties of the Third Front.

"Our strategy is two-pronged. One will be before the elections and another after them. We will also have a common minimum programme after the results," Naidu pointed out.

Naidu, whose TDP formed a grand alliance in Andhra Pradesh with the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Left parties for the state assembly and parliamentary polls, said his party had come out with a �cash transfer scheme' on the lines of a similar scheme in Brazil.

"The cash transfer scheme is beneficial to the middle class and the poor. We will introduce it in the state when we come to power," Naidu added.

Clarifying that he was not in the race to become the prime minister if the Third Front came to power, Naidu said he had declined such an offer in 1996 as he had not been an aspirant.

"I am not a prime ministerial candidate. At that time (1996) also, they offered me. I declined as am not a candidate for the top post. We are in a democracy. We will all join and then decide after the elections results."

Asked if Deve Gowda was the first choice, Naidu hastened to clarify that he was not suggesting anything.

"At that time (May 1996), we selected him. It was a good decision. He had done well," Naidu said.

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