Karnataka chief minister meets Third Front leaders


New Delhi : In a significant development, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who heads a coalition government with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Friday met leaders of the Third Front here to discuss forthcoming presidential election.

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The Karnataka CM’s decision to attend a meeting of Third Front leaders has apparently shaken the BJP though party leaders preferred to remain tightlipped.

Kumaraswamy’s term as chief minister ends later this year under a power sharing arrangement with the BJP, which gets the state leadership thereafter.

In an informal discussion ahead of a meeting slated for Saturday, Third Front leaders AIADMK chief and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah discussed the strategy for the July 19 presidential election.

With indications that the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), as the Third Front leaders call their grouping, is likely to abstain from voting in the election, efforts were on by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to secure its support for their candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

BJP leader in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, who was the NDA emissary, told reporters: “I just discussed the present political situation.”

Soon after, Dr Abdullah said “He (Jaswant Singh) only met Jayalalitha,” seeking to dispel the impression that the BJP leader had met leaders of the Third Front.