The NDA’s convener and leader of the Janata Dal (U) Sharad Yadav set spent an hour closeted with CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Sunday, setting off alarm bells within the alliance once again.
Barely 10 days ago, Orissa’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had hit the alliance hard by breaking its 11-year-long tie up with the BJP.
Political circles speculated wildly on why Yadav and Yechury should have met at all with general elections barely a month away, considering
that the core party of the NDA — the BJP — is anathema for the CPM.
The two leaders themselves, while confirming their meeting, refused to say a word about what they discussed.
“It was a courtesy call by my old friend Yechury. We are firmly in the NDA,” said Yadav. “It is being noticed only because this is election season.”
He refused to answer any questions about whether the two leaders had discussed the possibility of a post-poll understanding which could exclude the BJP.
“Yes it was a courtesy call,” confirmed Yechury. “I heard Sharadji was not well, so I went to see him.”
Asked whether there was any discussion on the third front, Yechury replied: “Efforts in that direction will always continue.”
Though Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has strongly denied reports of his party breaking with the NDA, some of his colleagues have not ruled out its likelihood after the polls, depending on the results.
Yechury, however, did hint that more parties could desert the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA in the coming days.
“A churning process is taking place in Indian politics. Given the track records of both the NDA and the UPA, a decisive shift can only come about when there is a viable political alternative to both,” he said.