Once again there is talk of the Third Front on all four sides. The beginning was made by the General Secretary of the JDU, K.C. Tyagi, meeting the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. Mamata spoke with Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik over the phone and from here the Bharatiya Janata Party came into the save-protect ‘mudra’. The JDU wants to quit the NDA. It leaders wounded the BJP with piercing, sarcastic barbs and for the first time BJP leaders were seen to be scared because they could see the possibility of coming to power in the Lok Sabha elections receding from them.
The Third Front can be formed, provided Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik decide that none of them will become the Prime Minister. Mulayam Singh too will have to decide that he will not become the Prime Minister. The question is : if none of these four become the Prime Minister, then who will become the Prime Minister? The question of the Prime Minister is important also because all these four want to become the Prime Minister, and all four are trying that one amongst them be accepted or recognised widely as the leader. One formula that is being tossed up is that the party which has the most MPs, the leader of that party should become the Prime Minister. But the way the situation seems, the number of MPs in all four parties, with a very minor difference, will work out to be more or less the same. At the time of campaigning, the possibility of these four adopting an attitude like that of the late Vishwanath Pratap Singh, who had said that he will not become the Prime Minister, is almost nil.
The Third Front can be formed, provided Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik decide that none of them will become the Prime Minister. Mulayam Singh too will have to decide that he will not become the Prime Minister. The question is : if none of these four become the Prime Minister, then who will become the Prime Minister?
If Mulayam Singh goes with the Third Front then Mayawati will join with the Congress and fight elections in Uttar Pradesh and will extract a promise in the form of an announcement from the Centre that she will be made the Deputy Prime Minister. There is also the possibility that at the last moment she may stake her claim to the Prime Ministership too. If the Congress makes a sensible decision and fights the elections in the country after declaring Mayawati as the Prime Ministerial candidate, then at a mental level this alliance can win the first round of the elections. In this situation, Dalits all over the country, who are about 22 to 24 per cent, will once again stand with the Congress and Mayawati.
Party workers are very disappointed with the tussle that is on within the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Prime Minister’s post. It seemed to them at first that when the name of Narendra Modi would come, the whole country will stand with them. In the country as well, to get rid of the problems created by the Congress, Narendra Modi was being seen as an ideal choice, but as Narendra Modi’s face is becoming more visible, so does the support for him seem to be dwindling. Actually, Narendra Modi’s face and body language these days present the image of a haughty, egoistical person. A thing like modesty is just not there anywhere in the manner Narendra Modi conducts himself. That is why while senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party are running far away from him, the common people are beginning to view Narendra Modi with caution. Shri Lal Krishna Advani’s annoyance has made leaders like Jaswant Singh, Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha come together once again. If out of these four any two or three leaders resign from the BJP and join the possible Third Front, then the ‘game’ will become replete with even more uncertainty.
The Congress is in the best position. The internal feud of the Bharatiya Janata Party has given it a new lease, a new breath of life. Where the long serial list of inflation, corruption, unemployment and scandals and scams generated anger amongst the common people and created doubts about a Congress victory, the uncertainty of the so-called Third Front, the possibility of conflicts between them and internal differences within the Bharatiya Janata Party acted like a Sanjivani (life giving herb) for the Congress. Statements are not coming from leaders of the Congress because they know that this is the time to speak less and wait for the results of the war that is going on in the Opposition. But it is also a strange thing that elections are almost on one’s head as it were and the Congress is not concerned about the Muslims or the Dalits. The way the Congress was called abusive names at a conference held in Jaipur by Muslims who had once been with the Congress is an eye-opener, but the Congress is still not concerned about the Muslims. Ostensibly, Congress Ministers are saying that they have implemented all the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, only three recommendations remain. Neither do Muslims have the time to examine statements and nor do they need to make the Congress realise its responsibility towards them.
The question is just this: out of all the alliances that are being formed, how many are there which have the power to get votes transferred in their favour? Apart from Mayawati perhaps, there is no one amongst them who would be able to get 80 or 90 per cent of votes transferred successfully. Nitish Kumar is in some trouble himself in Bihar. His candidate has been defeated in the by-elections even though the amount of power Nitish used for this by-election, he had not used before for any by-election. Can this be seen as some foreshadowing signal in Bihar? Is the comeback of Laloo Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan possible in Bihar? These questions are also arising in the mind because now no party is coming before the country with an ideology, thought or philosophy and is coming instead as a representative of caste and creed. If anyone can get the country out of this situation, it is only the people. Therefore, one should believe that whatever happens in the elections will not be detrimental. It should be good one should pray for that too.