Third Front - Living in Fools Paradise

There has been a lot of discussion in the Indian media and political circles. It all started with the convergence of a few state leaders Like Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Bannerjee against the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). Tongues have been set wagging with the invites sent out by Shiromani Akali Dal's swearing in ceremony. By sending out invites to Mamata, Jayalalitha and many others (read here), Sukhbir Singh Badal has set the cat amongst the pundit and political circles, with the talk of the revival of a United Front like formation all over again dominating headlines. Within all this euphoria, people tend to forget a few basic facts which need to be cleared up.
First of all, let us look at the potential Third Front. There is no way that a Third Front can come together, as a lot of parties that are imaginary constituents of the same are bitter political rivals to each other in the respective states. A classic case is the Trinamool Congress and CPI(M), who are mortal enemies in West Bengal. To expect them to come together is more difficult than solving the Iranian nuclear question. Similarly, expecting the DMK and AIADMK to come together on one platform is laughable. Looking at the knives and daggers between SP and BSP, one can be rest assured that there's no love lost between them.
Secondly, there is a question of practicality. Look at the current state of affairs of the Third Front. In most states, their tally can never be a clean sweep in the state. At best, they can get together about 140-170 seats in the Lok Sabha. Then what? Who supports the government from the outside? The Congress party? After the disastrous United Front experiment in 1997, this is a far fetched dream. With the impossibility of many of these parties coming together, there is no hope for them.
Third, and most importantly is the ideological basis of the formation of this Third Front. What is it going to be? Sheer political opportunism? The parties that are trying to come together do not even have common social thought, forget common economic ideologies. What is the agenda on which they are going to fight? At best, they will look more like the B-team of the Congress (which the NDA right now looks like). Most importantly, who is their Prime Ministerial candidate or leader in the house? No one is, and no one can be. The Lohiaites were famous for being unable to decide their leader in the assemblies or the Parliament, and that disease has permeated further. There is nothing that can keep these people together.
India has already suffered at the hands of the disastrous United Front that was formed out of sheer opportunism. It makes sense for these smaller parties to be practical and not try to destabilize the country the way they did more than a decade ago. A famous story of the Bedouin and the camel is what should be recalled by them, with the camel in their case being the prime ministerial ambitions of their various leaders.


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