Fourth Front jittery as Cong only for pre-poll allies in Govt

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: May 17, 2009 22:00 IST

Fourth Front constituents, which had parted company with the UPA, on Sunday night went into a huddle after Congress gave indications that it may include only pre-poll allies in the new Union Government.

Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan held a meeting with RJD chief Lalu Prasad at his residence to discuss their strategy.

The meeting came shortly after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) emphasised that the party should include only pre-poll allies in government formation, a move that has made SP, RJD and LJP jittery as they had contested separately.

Sources said there was a general view within Congress that Samajwadi Party, which had been a difficult ally, should be kept out, although it has 23 seats. Prasad, whose RJD has four seats, has clearly indicated keenness to stay in the new Cabinet.

The 'Fourth Front' fell flat on its face after the combine of Lalu, Paswan and Mulayam, which had boasted that Congress could not come to power without its support, failed to retain even half of the 64 seats won by them in 2004.

The RJD, LJP and SP, which had fought independently despite being in the UPA, faced the worst drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. SP, RJD and LJP -- which had together won 64 seats last time -- got just 27 seats this time.

Having made the "big mistake" of not contesting jointly with Congress, these parties faced reverses in their strongholds of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

In Bihar, the biggest defeat of this election was that of LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who once held the Guinness record for winning with the highest margin of 4,24,000 votes in 1977 from Hajipur. LJP had contested eight seats last time and won four.

Paswan had represented the seat eight times -- 1977, 1980, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who hedged his bets by contesting from Saran and Pataliputra Lok Sabha seats, lost from Pataliputra, but won from Saran. RJD had won 22 of the 40 seats last time, when it had contested 26 seats.

This time it contested 28 seats in alliance with LJP and SP, without any tie up with Congress, a decision described by Prasad as a "big mistake".

The Samajwadi Party, which extended outside support to the UPA after the Left parted ways, got 23 seats, all in Uttar Pradesh. The party had bagged 36 seats in 2004.

The 'Fourth Front' got the worst mauling in Bihar where NDA virtually swept the polls.


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