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Third front talks Wednesday amid concern over communalism

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Third front talks Wednesday amid concern over communalism
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New Delhi: The Left said Tuesday it is trying to bring together "secular and like-minded parties to fight against the threat of communalism" amid speculation over formation of a Third Front ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"We are calling people to fight unitedly against communalism and uphold the secular values enshrined in the constitution," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters while briefing about a meeting his party is organizing along with some regional parties on Wednesday.

Though the meeting is being dubbed as an attempt to forge a grouping of regional parties ahead of the 2014 national polls, Yechury denied that it was aimed at any Third Front.

"The convention should not be linked to any poll alliances," he said.

Yechury however said the trigger to organise the event was the recent riots in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, in which over 40 people died and thousands were displaced.

The Samajwadi Party (SP), which rules the state, is too part of the convention.

SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said "communalism in any form was harmful for the country" while saying "the meeting should not be linked to polls or third front or any alternative."

"There is threat from communalism," he said.

While the CPI-M and SP leaders refrained from accepting the convention was an anti-(Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra) Modi front, Communist Party of India leader Manjit Kaur was more forthcoming.

"The RSS is in the forefront. The way they forced Modi's candidature on BJP, they may try to polarise the situation in the run up to 2014 polls," she said.

The initiative, she said, would look beyond 2014, hinting that talks of an alternative front formation may not be absolutely off the mark.

Yechury too said that "the meeting is against a divisive agenda to polarize and gain electorally".

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader KC Tyagi, whose part was in alliance with the BJP in Bihar for the past 17 years but parted ways in June after Modi was named its 2014 campaign chief, said the meeting "aimed at mobilising secular and democratic forces".

"Communalism is a challenge after the Muzaffarnagar riots," he said.

Besides the CPI-M and CPI, leaders of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Forward Bloc, SP, JD-U, the Janata Dal-Secular, Asom Gana Parishad, AIADMK, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, the Biju Janata Dal, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Republican Party of India (RPI) are expected to attend the meeting.

These parties contend that neither Congress nor the BJP would be able to form a government on their own post-2014 elections.

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