Third Front: Reality or Disaster for Indian Politics?
TNI Bureau: Rumors are rife that the 2014 general elections might see a third front forming the government at the centre. A trend supporting this statement comes from the emergence of regional parties and leaders at the national level. A possible third front might seem like motley of the left parties and regional parties like Mulayam Singh Yadav led Samajwadi party, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janta Dal and Laloo Prasad’s Rashtriya Janta Dal.
This speculation was further strengthened when Mulayam Singh Yadav met Sukhbir Badal, the deputy chief minister of Punjab and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal, very recently at the latter’s residence in New Delhi.
CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury has given a statement that the third front is possible only with alternative policies. The reasons being given in the favor of a possible third front are multifold. First, the public is angry with the incumbent government’s corruption and apathy. At the same time the BJP, the main opposition party, has failed to emerge as an effective and strong opposition. The allies of the Congress party in the UPA are unhappy with the latter’s functioning style.
The recent withdrawal of support by Mamata Banerjee and the discontentment of DMK over Sri Lanka-Tamil issue clearly indicate that all is not hunky-dory for the Congress. In last couple of years, the representation of regional parties and all other non-Congress and non-BJP parties in the Indian parliament has increased significantly. This has obviously given them a higher bargaining power in the national politics.
If we look at the history, there are two instances when India had a non-BJP and non-Congress government. The first one was in 1989 and the second one in 1996. On both occasions, they failed to give stability to the nation and collapsed due to conflict among themselves. An important architect of both these governments was late Harkishan Singh Surjeet who played the role of a consensus builder. The possibility of creation of a third front cannot be completely ruled out. But even if it is formed, there are more reasons that the third front would not be able to run a government than there are for it making one.
To start with, when you have so many parties, consensus building becomes the most difficult task. There would be conflicting ideologies, difference in working style and personality conflicts. Besides, if a third front is formed, it will have at least half a dozen leaders aspiring for the prime ministerial berth. Parties with regional outlooks would not be able to govern and upkeep the diverse Indian population. The foreign relations and the economic growth would be worst hit as all potential members of the so-called third front have conflicting views in these two domains.
Given the pros and cons, it is in the best interest of the people of India, the Indian democracy and the economy that the idea of third front never becomes a reality. For the time being let it be a distant dream.