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What will Cong-led alliance be called?

By George Iype in New Delhi
Last updated on: May 15, 2004 14:45 IST
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If the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition is called the National Democratic Alliance, what will the Congress-led alliance be called?

Even as they are fine-tuning a secular coalition to take over from the NDA, senior Congress leaders and their counterparts in parties that are likely to be a part of this team are searching of a suitable name for the new combine.

Many names have already been suggested, including National Secular Alliance, Secular Democratic Alliance, United Secular Alliance and United Front Alliance.

Everyone is in agreement that the name should comprise of three words, which a Congress leader said would "beat the BJP and the NDA in letter and spirit."

Also, there is agreement that the word 'secular' must be included in the name.

"Yes, we will select a suitable name. But our government will be known by its secular characteristics as opposed to the NDA's communal credentials," senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes told

He said the new name will be decided after consulting all alliance partners. "The name will symbolise what we are all standing for in the new government," he said.

Congress leaders favour either National Secular Alliance or Secular Democratic Alliance. But some allies, like the Janata Dal (Secular) led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, are insisting on United Front Alliance.

In 1996, when Gowda was elected prime minister in a coalition supported by the Congress and the Left, the government was christened the United Front.

The Left parties have not yet informed the Congress what name they prefer for the coalition. But the Left would certainly prefer to have 'democratic' and 'secular' in the name.


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George Iype in New Delhi