New Delhi: Notwithstanding reluctance of some leaders of regional parties to make it public, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is strongly in favour of a Third Front to prevent communal forces from coming to power after the Lok Sabha elections.
However, he avoided a direct answer to whether his father and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would be a prime ministerial candidate of that front. He merely said India needs a Prime Minister who can understand the issues of poor and farmers.
"In UP as well as other parts of the country, communal forces have to be reined in. Only a Third Front can stop such forces. Because of the mistakes of the Congress the BJP is getting strengthened," he told a news agency.
"We need a Third Front. Who will stop those forces in West Bengal -- either Trinamool or Communists. In Tamil Nadu, it is either DMK or AIADMK. In Bihar, the ruling party was with BJP but now they are willing to join the fight against communal forces. SP has been fighting against them for years and has never supported them," he said ruling out any tie up with BJP.
Leaders of non-BJP, non-Congress parties have been talking of fighting the challenge of BJP but probably with the exception of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik they have not openly talked of a Third Front before the elections.
Even at yesterday`s convention of 14 non-Congress, non-BJP parties here, there was no talk of forming a Front though the meeting itself was widely interpreted as the first step towards forming such a grouping.
Yadav also parried questions on SP`s support to Congress. "As far as Congress is concerned, it is too early to say anything. First of all, I don`t think they (Cong) are going to get that many seats. We supported Congress to prevent communal forces to come into power but it is due to the mistakes of Congress, the BJP has become stronger," Yadav said.
On BSP supremo Mayawati, he said that she has supported the BJP in the past and can again go with it.
Dismissing the charge that SP was indulging in Muslim appeasement, Yadav said the party does not look at Muslims as a vote bank.
"You see our election manifesto. We are trying to bring them in mainstream. It is the recommendations of the Sachar committee and the Rangnath Mishra committee that was constituted by the Centre," he said.
On charges that his decisions are influenced by senior SP leaders, the Chief Minister said, "It is wrong to say that I have lost the faith of people. When you are in opposition you play a different role. But when you are in government and that too leading for the first time in such a huge state, you have to be very careful.
"We have been doing pro development work but the results will take time to come especially in a state like UP where the former Chief Minister was busy in installing her own statues. It will take time to deliver," he stressed.
"I take suggestions from senior leaders as I am still learning. However, the final decision remains mine and I have to face everything if it is right or wrong. It has been two years since I have taken charge and there is not a single case of internal dispute in our party which is an achievement," he pointed out.
The Chief Minister, who had to face flak for suspending IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal, said, "You have to take tough decisions on administrative level otherwise what are you there for.”
"In Durga Shakti case, the issue was that she could not perform her duty according to legal procedure but I spoke to senior officials and reinstated her and stopped the inquiry after giving her a reprimand since she is new in the profession and still under training. The matter is sorted out," he said.