How many people at Third Front rally – 100,000 or 400,000?


Tumkur (Karnataka) : Thousands of people – estimates range from 100,000 to 400,000 – Thursday took in their stride the heat and dust and the lack of drinking water, to witness the launch of the Third Front by Left and regional parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), which organised the rally, said nearly 400,000 people had gathered at Dobbaspet near here, around 60 km from Bangalore. But the police estimated the crowd at over 100,000.

JD-S spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta told IANS that over 400,000 people were at the rally and hundreds of other could not make it as buses and trucks bringing them were held up in nearby areas.

He said several vehicles were allowed to reach the venue after former Karnataka chief minister and JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy’s intervention.

Before the rally began, JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda apologised to the crowd for some lapses in the arrangement, particularly the lack of drinking water.

The rally was addressed in English by leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and AIADMK while Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu spoke in Telugu as a substantial section in the crowd understood the language.

The Third Front comprises parties not aligned with groupings led either by the Congress party or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).