J-K Polls Draw Near, Talks Of Third Front Gain Ground
27 January 2005
The Indian Express
Jammu: As the civic polls draw nearer, the efforts to create a Third Front in the state have intensified, with several senior leaders within and outside the ruling coalition holding closed-door meetings. According to sources, at least three such meetings were held recently which were attended among others by People's Democratic Forum (PDF) chairman Haqim Mohammad Yasin and CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami. The PDF is a part of the coalition government while the CPI (M) is supporting the government from outside. The sources say that the meetings have discussed in length the formation of the Third Front, which has been planned to be created before the Legislative Assembly session that begins on February 24. The meetings are considered significant in view of the emerging differences between the two coalition partners, the Congress and PDP. The main Opposition National Conference has also said that it is not averse to an alliance with the Congress after maintaining silence on the issue in the past. 'The Congress is not untouchable for us. Our problem is with the PDP and its policies. If the Congress reconsiders its support to the PDP, our options are open,' says NC president Omar Abdullah. However, Revenue Minister and PDF chairman Haqim Mohammad Yasin denies the meetings have anything to do with the stability of the coalition government. 'We are talking to like- minded people in the state and our purpose is to form a platform which will give a voice to people's aspirations,' says Yasin.