Storm in UNPA over Congress-Samajwadi ties
India's already shaky Third Front was in ferment on Thursday over the decision of one of its key members, the Samajwadi Party, to prop up the Congress-led government.
Leaders of the Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) were locked in seemingly stormy discussions at the residence of Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh over the future of the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), which came up last year to take on both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
As the Samajwadi Party and Congress gave final touches to their ties to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government if and when the Left withdraws support, there were clear signs of differences in the UNPA.
The TDP has indicated that it will not go with the Congress over the India-US nuclear deal, which the Left has adamantly refused to support. Some UNPA sources admitted that the grouping of regional parties is set to break up, after having already lost the AIADMK.
While Samajwadi Party leaders struggled to explain their sudden U-turn over the Congress to their UNPA allies, TDP chief and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu met Communist leaders, who in the past have been TDP's allies.
Naidu, another crucial leader in UNPA, met Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India general secretary AB Bardhan at the CPI-M headquarters here.
Naidu's meeting took place just before the UNPA meeting began. Apart from Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh and Naidu, INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala and B Goswami of the AGP are also attending.
Both the Communists and the TDP are believed to be disillusioned over the Samajwadi Party decision to back the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.