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AAP distances itself from leader Gopal Rai's comments that the party is open to supporting Third Front

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 8:06pm IST | Agency: PTI

  • AAP leader Gopal Rai

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai on Sunday said they may extend issue based support to a Third Front government but the party swiftly distanced itself saying there was "no question" of it backing "any front".

"Yes, we may extend issue based support if there is a situation that demands our support to a Third Front government," AAP leader Gopal Rai told PTI here.

In a statement later in the evening, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party categorically ruled out any such possibility saying "it cannot and will not" be a part of any front which could include parties whose leaders are involved in largescale corruption.

"There is no question of the Aam Aadmi Party extending support to any front after the declaration of the Lok Sabha election results and the party strongly refutes news reports attributed to it in this regard," the party said.

The talk of possible cobbling together of "secular forces" to stop BJP from coming to power has gained momentum in the last couple of weeks with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and a number of other leaders exuding confidence of such a formation, expecting that Congress would not do well to form UPA III.

Rai, considered close to Kejriwal, however, said a decision on future role of the party will be taken after analysing the outcome of the election.

"Our movement is for common people and support will be definitely issue-based. Final decision on future course of action will be taken after May 16 when results will be declared," he said.

Taking a different line from Rai, the AAP said it has contested the Lok Sabha elections to "present a model of alternative politics before the people of the country and any speculation about the party supporting any third or fourth front is completely misleading and contrary to the party's stated position".

"The AAP cannot and will not be a part of any front which could include parties whose leaders are involved in largescale corruption, neither will the AAP extend support to any such front," it said.
It said "AAP will prefer to sit in opposition rather than be a part of extend support to any combination/front which compromises with corruption, since this is against the core values for which this party was formed."

Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted that there was no question of Third Front, saying "rumours" are being spread.

AAP has fielded candidates in 422 Lok Sabha seats and Kejriwal had earlier claimed that his party will win at least 100 seats.

The AAP had in a stunning electoral debut as it won 28 seats in Delhi Assembly elections in December last year and a number of senior party leaders said they will spring a "surprise" in the Lok Sabha polls as well.

Rai, however, refused to hazard a guess about number of seats AAP would win, saying the party's struggle will go on even if it does not perform well.

The party was hoping to perform well in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

"Our aim is to ensure that voice of honest politics reaches the Parliament. It does not matter whether we win 10 seats or 30 seats. We will go there and try to build pressure to bring systemic changes."

Last week, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat had said that a repeat of the 1996-like situation was possible and the Congress may be forced to support a government of secular parties at the Centre to keep the BJP out of power.

The front of non-Congress, non-BJP parties would be able to cobble up a majority with outside support from Congress, he said.

Yesterday, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati said her party will not join any front and her numbers will be enough to galvanise secular forces around her.

Earlier this month, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has ruled out extending supporting a Third Front government saying he was confident that Congress will have the numbers to form UPA III.

But Mulayam hoped that Congress would support a Third Front government.

Rai said Kejriwal was confident of winning the "mega contest" against BJP's Narendra Modi in Varanasi as there has been a "yearning for change" across the temple town.

"People want to see change in Varanasi. They have been supporting BJP and Congress for last so many decades but the elected representatives never cared for the city and that is why there has been a groundswell of support for AAP," Rai, who was here for campaigning, said.

The presence of Modi and Kejriwal has made the contest one of the most keenly watch fights of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"Arvind Kejriwal has come out as an honest and credible face because of which he has been receiving massive support across Varanasi. This a fight of two ideologies. Kejriwal represents honest politics while Modi backs corruption and interests of big corporate.

"If Kejriwal wins, then honest politics will move forward while if Modi emerges victorious, the politics of hatred, religion and corruption will continue," he alleged.

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