Patna: The Third Front in Bihar was jolted in the midst of the Assembly polls as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today decided to walk out of the grouping citing “pro-BJP statements” by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. NCP General Secretary and MP Tariq Anwar announced the party’s decision to quit the six-party Third Front at a press conference here.
Anwar said the decision was in reaction to Mulayam’s purported comment that there was a wave in favour of BJP and that the saffron party would form the government in the coming days in Bihar. “The statement by Mulayam while campaigning for his party’s candidates in Rohtas and Aurangabad in the second phase of voting is sad and unfortunate,” charged the NCP Lok Sabha member from Katihar. The second phase of polling in Bihar is to be held tomorrow.
Anwar, the face of the Sharad Pawar-led party in Bihar, had said that at the time they joined hands that the Third Front of six parties, including NCP, had come together to uphold secularism by fighting the Congress and BJP.
“But the SP chief’s statement to directly or indirectly help BJP betrays that understanding,” he told reporters. SP, NCP, Janadhikar Party of Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, Samajwadi Janata Party of former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, National Peoples Party of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma and Samras Samaj Party of former Union minister Nagmani had come together as part of the Third Front.
NCP, which had joined the Grand Secular Alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress initially and was allocated three seats, had quit that grouping charging it was being underestimated by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. The party later joined hands with SP, which had also quit the grand secular alliance complaining about Congress’s membership of it.