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Hegde Launches National Party Lok Shakti

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Expelled Janata Dal leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde yesterday launched his new national political party Lok Shakti at a glittering function here which was marked by pomp and enthusiam by his supporters.

The foundation conference of the new political outfit, the birth of which was delayed for many reasons, was reminiscent to the events that unfolded in 1988 in which Hegde played a stellar role in bringing together splinter groups of erstwhile Janata Party to float a new political party Janata Dal, as an alternative to the Congress.

Like the coming together of breakaway factions of the Janata pPrty to form the Janata Dal in 1988, yesterday atleast six political outfits, the majority of which splinter groups of Janata Dal, merged to form the new political party.

The political parties which merged their identity with the Lok Shakti are: Samajwadi Party led by Ramakant Pandey in Bihar, Bharatiya Socialist Party led by Gajendra Prasad Himansu, Lok Dal headed by S P Gautam, Indian Socialist Party of Kerala, Rastreeya Vikalpa Manch of Rajasthan led by Lalith Tiwari and Kannada Chaluvali headed by G Narayanakumar in Karnataka.

The foundation conference, unanimously elected the party's founder, Ramakrishna Hegde, as its president.

The party adopted its constitution too.

Former MP, Era Sezhiyan, who headed a sub-committee for drafting the constitution of the new party, said it enshrined principles of providing equality to all and quality life to all citizens.

The conference also released the party's new tricolour flag.

Sezhiyan announced that the new president would appoint party's office bearers in all states and elections would be held to the party posts in a year's time.

Ad-hocism would end by a year, he said. Addressing the well attended gathering on assuming charge as the party president, Hegde clarified that it was pressure from his supporters that prompted him to launch a new political party and not the actions of Janata Dal, which expelled him last year. He said yesterday's conference reminded him of October 11, 1988, conference, held in the same sprawling palace grounds to launch the Janata Dal, for which he had to put in two years' effort.

Hegde regretted that the Janata Dal has drifted from the policies, programmes and ideologies which it cherished as an alternative to the Congress.

Amid roaring applause by the crowd Hegde said today I am before you for the second foundation conference.

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