Pawar to address BJD rally on phone, says not part of Third Front


Bhubaneswar : Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar Friday said he was not part of the Left or any Third Front but did have an association with Orissa’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which is Friday organising a rally he will now address over the phone.

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“I am not part of a Third Front or Left Front. My association is with the BJD, not Left parties… We want to continue with the UPA (United Progressive Alliance). We are not going with Left parties anywhere in India,” Pawar told a television channel, attempting to set at rest speculation over his participation in the rally.

Pawar’s clarification comes a day after union Home Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram said in New Delhi Thursday: “He has an alliance with us in Maharashtra and attempts are there to stitch an alliance in Gujarat. It would be good if he doesn’t share a platform with parties who are opposed to Congress.”

A BJD leader here added that a technical snag in his aircraft was keeping the NCP chief from attending the rally that will be addressed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat as well as Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja.

“He cancelled his trip to Bhubaneswar because of some technical snag in the aircraft. He will address the gathering through telephone,” BJD general secretary Damodar Rout told IANS.

The state leadership of the NCP would, however, be participating in the rally.

The BJD has refrained from calling the rally a Third Front show of force and had clarified that it had organised the rally because it has a seat sharing arrangement with the parties.

The BJD led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had broken its 11-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party last month. The BJD forged a partnership with the NCP and the Left parties after they voted for it during a trust vote in the assembly.

Orissa goes to elections April 16 and 23 to elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha.