Ex-Haryana Chief Minister To Meet Nitish Kumar Over Third Front Formation

Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala said he will start contacting opposition leaders soon to forge a "third front" at the national level.

Ex-Haryana Chief Minister To Meet Nitish Kumar Over Third Front Formation

Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala will meet Bihar's Nitish Kumar on August 1. (File)

Chandigarh:

Former Haryana Chief Minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala on Tuesday said he will start contacting opposition leaders soon to forge a "third front" at the national level and also revealed plans to have a lunch meeting with BJP ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Asserting that the biggest need today is to get rid of the "anti-people" and "anti-farmer" government at the Centre, Mr Chautala said before September 25, the birth anniversary of his father and former deputy PM Devi Lal, he will try to meet opposition leaders and urge them to come on one platform.

"It will be our endeavour to form a strong third front," said Mr Chautala, who was recently released from jail after serving a 10-year sentence in a recruitment scam.

Mr Chautala claimed that if a strong third front is formed, then many who support the government will leave it, ultimately leading to a situation where mid-term polls may take place.

"It will be my endeavour to see that a strong third front is formed and later in the polls it achieves success so that this anti-people and corrupt government is routed," the former Haryana chief minister said.

On being asked if he will be meeting Mamata Banerjee, he said: "Although this is not an issue of today's topic, I want to tell that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had telephoned me."

"He will have lunch with me at my residence on August 1. When two political leaders sit together, then political issues are naturally discussed," he said replying to a query.

INLD sources said Nitish Kumar had recently spoken to Mr Chautala over the phone to enquire about his well-being.

JDU leader K C Tyagi had also visited Mr Chautala's Gurgaon residence and it was during their meeting that Nitish had spoken to Mr Chautala over the phone.

Nitish Kumar will be visiting Mr Chautala's Gurgaon residence next month, the source said.

On TMC leader and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Chautala said he has "good family relations" with her.

Ms Banerjee is in New Delhi and had a meeting with opposition leaders. She is slated to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Mr Chautala, 86, alleged that the policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre are aimed at benefiting big corporates.

Referring to the agitation against the farm laws, he said the country is primarily an agrarian economy and if farmers are not happy, then the nation cannot progress.

Prices of fertilisers, diesel, pesticides and other essential commodities have registered a sharp increase, he said.

"Such a big agitation by farmers has not moved this government. The government is still claiming that the farm laws are pro-farmer and their leaders are defending these legislations," he said.

Mr Chautala also hit out at the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government, alleging that the state's debt is mounting and the government now has to borrow to even pay salaries to its employees.

Replying to a question on the Ellenabad bypolls, he said: "The INLD candidate, which will be announced by the party at an appropriate time, will win by a heavy margin."

The Ellenabad seat in Sirsa district was represented by Mr Chautala's younger son Abhay Singh Chautala, who resigned as MLA earlier over the farm laws issue and came out openly in support of the farmers protesting the laws.

The bypolls to the Assembly seat are yet to be announced by the Election Commission.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)