Nationalist Congress Party, a key UPA ally, today said it had to keep its options open of "working with other parties" as it justified its participation with the leaders of non-Congress, non-BJP parties at an anti- communalism convention here.
The 'Convention for People's Unity and Against Communalism', which was attended by major regional political parties, is being seen as a bid to form a 'Third Front' ahead of the upcoming General Elections in 2014 by bringing "secular forces" together.
"In the era of coalition politics, we have to keep our options of working with other parties open," NCP leader Praful Patel said as he justified the party's participation in the convention.
Another NCP leader, DP Tripathi, said that being a part of the UPA government at the Centre did not mean it could not stand up against communalism.
"(NCP) president Sharad Pawar says that to counter communalism, all the secular parties should unite. Even if we are in government, secularism is our priority," Tripathi said.
He noted that despite being a part of UPA, NCP has been in an alliance with the Left Democratic Front in Kerala for the past 10 years.
He also took a dig at a convention organised by RSS in Kerala where, he said, the organisation asked the members of Hindu community to produce more kids.
"99 per cent of those gathered (at the RSS meet) were asked to produce more kids. RSS prohibits marriage by its pracharaks.
"Those who have not got married themselves are asking people to produce more kids.
"Where poverty, malnourishment and illiteracy are still rampant, there should be talk of family planning," Tripathi added.