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Eleven small Indian political parties band together as ‘third front’ as elections approach

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Eleven Indian political parties vowed Tuesday to work together to defeat the country’s two main outfits at the upcoming general elections by forming a so-called third front.

The grouping of left-leaning and regional parties announced their plans to become a viable alternative to the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by Narendra Modi.

Prakash Karat, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India, said the new front would “work for the defeat” of Congress and the BJP — the traditional parties that together hold over half the seats in India’s lower house of parliament.

“We need an alternative to both the Congress and BJP. That’s why we the leaders of the 11 parties resolved today to work together,” Karat said at a press conference in New Delhi.

Opinion polls show Modi on course to win the elections due by May ahead of Congress whose campaign is led by Rahul Gandhi, the son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers.

But whoever wins will almost certainly have to stitch together a coalition comprising smaller regional parties.

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No single party has won a parliamentary majority since 1989, giving often populist regional leaders immense power at the national level.

The 11 parties include three which rule at the state level in the electorally crucial eastern Bihar, northern Uttar Pradesh and southern Tamil Nadu states.

Flanked by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, Karat lashed out at Congress for spawning “massive corruption” and at the BJP for pursuing a “communal agenda”.

Karat said the parties had broadly agreed on a common policy framework and the front would give itself a name after more parties joined, while their prime ministerial candidate would be announced after the elections.

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The Trinamool Congress, a regional outfit not part of the new alliance, dismissed the front as a “communist day dream”.

“The Third Front is a hobby horse of the communists, who want to use the power of regional parties to manipulate their way to influence without responsibility and to promote obsolete agendas,” leader Derek O’Brien tweeted.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Man barricaded himself in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office in Queens

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The New York Police Department responded to a Saturday break-in at the Queens office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by a 27-year-old man.

"The alleged trespasser barricaded himself in the 3rd floor office, hiding in a utility closet until police convinced him to come out," WPIX-TV reports.

"The man was taken to an area hospital for an evaluation. Charges against him are pending," ABC 7 reported.

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Trump wants Americans to watch interview where he broke federal law by soliciting foreign election help: ‘Enjoy the show!’

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Despite widespread criticism, President Donald Trump on Saturday stood by his comments to George Stephanopoulos -- and hyped an upcoming broadcast of the interview.

"I enjoyed my interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News," Trump claimed.

"So funny to watch the Fake News Media try to dissect and distort every word in as negative a way as possible. It will be aired on Sunday night at 8:00 P.M., and is called, “President Trump: 30 Hours” (which is somewhat misleading in that I personally spent only a small fraction of that time doing interviews. I do have a few other things to do, you know!)," he continued.

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2020 Election

Utah Republican is in deep trouble after trying to defend Trump’s breaking of the law

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President Donald Trump's poor standing in Utah could cause big electoral problems for one of his loudest defenders in the state.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said Trump would be "foolish" if he did not illegally accept election help from foreign adversaries.

On Saturday, Stewart was blasted by former CIA officer Evan McMullin.

McMullin was born in Provo, attended Brigham Young University, is Mormon and a also prominent conservative critic of Trump.

In 2016, McMullin ran against Trump as an Independent and received 21.3 percent of the vote in Utah during the general election. Trump also had problems in Utah during the Republican primary, receiving only 14 percent of the vote.

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