Indian media: Questions over viability of Third Front

Regional parties are hoping to play a significant role in the upcoming parliamentary elections
Image caption Regional parties are hoping to play a significant role in the upcoming elections to the Indian parliament

Newspapers are questioning the viability of a new political alliance that does not include India's ruling and main opposition parties ahead of the 2014 general elections.

Leaders of 14 regional parties gathered in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss their strategy to keep "communal politicians" away from power.

Regional leaders like former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar opposed the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in their speeches at the meeting, reports say.

But some papers feel the possible alliance, popularly known as the Third Front, lacks a common understanding and goal to strike a chord with the voters.

The Hindustan Times says people "must question the viability of the front itself. It is difficult to see what there is in common between say Mr Yadav's Samajwadi Party or Mr Kumar's Janata Dal United and the Left parties".

"For any political formation to succeed, it must be held together with an ideological glue. While many may not agree with them, both the Congress and the BJP have such a binding factor in the form of leaders and ideologies," the paper adds.

Hindi daily Dainik Jagran also questions the motive of the Third Front, saying "it is doubtful whether the... parties that assembled in Delhi in the name of fighting communal discord will be able to stay united and give the country any substantial (governance) alternatives".

"The reason for this is not merely that leaders from the various parties spoke in completely different voices at this event called by the Left parties, but that there seemed to be no clear or solid agenda," it adds.

"No doubt, there has always been a non-Congress, non-BJP current in Indian politics. But the experience of the past two-and-a-half decades shows that no such alliance has ever been stable. For this reason, there is scepticism over this new venture," says another Hindi daily Amar Ujala.

Meanwhile, scientists have successfully designed India's largest nuclear reactor, a move that will "catapult the country into the big league of nuclear energy", the Deccan Herald reports.

The reactor will be a joint effort between the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, and its construction is likely to start in five years, Barc Director Sekhar Basu told the paper.

Election symbols

In yet another dismaying news about women's safety, a call-centre worker was allegedly gang-raped on Wednesday night in Gurgaon - a Delhi suburb, the NDTV website reports.

The three suspects have been arrested, the report adds.

Massive protests were seen across the country after the brutal gang-rape and murder of a student in Delhi last year, but ensuring women's safety still remains a challenge.

Elsewhere, Kannur in the southern state of Kerala is all set to become India's first town where everyone owns land, a report in The Times of India says.

The goal will be achieved after the state government donates more than 500 acres of land to over 11,000 underprivileged people on Friday, the report says.

In another inspiring story, over 70 differently-abled couples were married at a mass wedding in the southern city of Chennai on Wednesday, The New Indian Express reports.

These differently-abled citizens defied the boundaries of caste and religion to find their partners, the report adds.

And finally, The New Indian Express takes a swipe at politicians after the Congress party demanded that lotus ponds in central India be "hidden" as the flower is the election symbol of their rival BJP.

The paper says agreeing to such demands would logically require that people wear gloves and never use bicycles or lanterns, since the hand, bicycle and lantern are the symbols of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal party respectively.

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