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George: Third Front just a concept now

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC Alliance convenor and former Defence Minister George Fernandes on Sunday said the Third Front was no longer a reality, but merely a concept. He also said he neither had the inclination, nor the strength to bring the ?Samajwadis? (socialists) together on a platform.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2006 00:56 IST

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC Alliance convenor and former Defence Minister George Fernandes on Sunday said the Third Front was no longer a reality, but
merely a concept. He also said he neither had the inclination, nor the strength to bring the “Samajwadis” (socialists) together on a platform.

“They (socialists) have become so fickle-minded that people poke fun at their inability to stay together for long,” he lamented at a function organised here by the All India Muslim Samaj in memory of socialist leader Dr Mohd Halim.

He said socialists were considered a class apart because stalwarts like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Jai Prakash Narain made no difference in their words and deeds.

The BJP was in no way an obstacle to the formation of a Third Front, said Fernandes. In an oblique reference to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, he questioned the efforts by those who talked of forging such a formation.
Socialism as an ideology, despite the disarray in the socialist camp, would continue to be relevant because of the unrest caused by the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, he said.

“We talk of economic development where India today is said to have the largest number of billionaires, whose net worth is now being assessed in dollars,” he said. But, this consolidation of wealth in the hands of a few would continue to fuel movements where people would demand their stake also.

“Growing attacks by Naxalites were an indication of this problem,” he said.
Others who also spoke on the occasion included Samajwadi Party MP Rewati
Raman Singh, Nationalist Congress Party State chief Dr Ramesh Dixit, Maulana Khalid Rasheed and Shah Fazlur Rehman Waizi Nadvi. The speakers sought construction of a memorial and release of a postage stamp in memory of Dr
Halim.