Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's idea of resurrecting the "third front" suffered a minor setback on Friday, with the AIADMK and the BJD staying away from the sit-in organised by six non-UPA and non-NDA parties to demand a judicial probe into the coal block allocations and cancellation of all 142 coal licenses.
Around 30 MPs of six parties, led by Yadav, participated in the 20-minute dharna at Parliament to demand investigation into the allocations by a sitting SC judge or by the CBI. "If the government does not order a probe, we will fight at the national level and go to the people on the issue," Yadav said.
The MPs also demanded that Parliament be allowed to function and that the "match-fixing" between the Congress and the BJP on the issue be brought to an end.
Reacting to Yadav's demand, Congress said it was up to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a call on the matter. "Whatever decision is taken by the Prime Minister; whether a decision is taken, only time will tell," law minister Salman Khurshid said.
The BJP, however, dismissed Yadav's attempt to cobble up a third front, accusing it of enacting an "opposition drama".
"Those who bail out the government on a cut motion, who helped the UPA survive a trust vote, and who are supporting the government from outside should not enact an opposition drama," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Besides the SP and the TDP, MPs of the four Left parties also joined the demonstration.
"We decided to stay away from the demonstration, as we feel that a judicial probe will deflate the situation and delay the process of law," BJD leader Bharatuhari Mahtab said.