March 10, 2014

SHATTERED


THE THIRD FRONT IS COLLAPSING EVEN BEFORE THE ELECTIONS



While I do not have any love either for the BJP or the Congress, I have special hatred reserved for the Third Front. The very thought of this Third Front - a lose federation of influential regional satraps with no common 'ideology' or 'vision', 'uniting' with the sole aim of grabbing power at the Centre in a bid to serve their own selfish political interests freaks me out. I mean, a federal government at New Delhi is the last thing that the country needs, especially after the mis-rule of the Manmohan Singh regime in its second term. Of course, this does not mean that I endorse either Modi or his outfit. Meanwhile, in a post that I had written barely a month back (Link), I had given five reasons as to why I think that the much hyped Third Front is doomed, if and when it comes to power. Little did I know that the many constituents of this coalition would quarrel and fall apart in just a matter of days. With elections about a month away, it seems that the federal experiment has flopped.

Ironically, the first cracks were visible when the regional parties came together to officially announce the alliance in the last days of February. A show of strength ended as a major embarrassment with two original members - the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) deciding to stay away. Considering that Navin Patnaik is one of the most strongest regional leader in the country, the absence of him or any other leader from his party at this crucial meeting is a major jolt to the Third Front. Moreover, the Orissa CM's remark that 'the front was still in its early days' has added salt to the wound. Forget the federal alliance, Patnaik's statement has led to speculations that he is ready to join the NDA or the UPA after the results. The AGP might not be on an extremely strong wicket at present, but its refusal to be a part of the Left led formation too has taken some sheen away from the Third Front.

The first jolt to the front came when the seat sharing talks between J Jayalalitha's AIADMK and the two Left parties broke down. The CPI and the CPM wanted three seats each whereas Amma was ready to concede just two seats. You can easily understand the Tamil Nadu CM's stand. Amma has been trying hard to project herself as a strong candidate for the job of the Prime Minister. The wily politician understands that with the DMK in tatters and Congress fighting the polls all alone, she has a golden opportunity to sweep the 39 seats in her state, plus Pondicherry. The more seats that she has with her, the better it is for her political ambitions post 2014 elections. With the talks reaching a deadlock, Jaya decided to go solo, dumping the Left in the bargain. A few days back, Bengal CM Mamata has made it clear that she will support Amma's candidature for the PM's post in case she can get the numbers. By fishing in troubled waters, Bannerjee is further trying alienate her arch rival - the Left.

The Third Front has to get its house in order soon, if it has to emerge as a strong alternative to the NDA and the UPA. Seat sharing talks between major players like the SP, the JD(U) and the Left have not yet begun. Considering the bitter taste that talks with the AIADMK has left, you can expect the Left to take its time. However, all is not over as yet. YSR Congress is said to have opened communication channels with the Communists. In all, it seems that the eternal dream of the federalist may not come true, at least in 2014. Thank God!