The Third Front? Narendra Modi? Or Someone Else? ‘Ifs’ And ‘Buts’ In India’s Politics

Whether the Bharatiya Janata Party will declare Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate or whether it will bring him forward for the Prime Ministerial post without formally declaring him as the candidate depends on what decision Nitish Kumar finally takes. If Nitish Kumar separates from the NDA, then the Bharatiya Janata Party will without hesitation declare Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate or will fight the elections under his leadership. And if Nitish Kumar remains with the NDA, then in such a situation, after the elections it will indeed be Narendra Modi who will become Prime Minister but at that time the Janata Dal United will not be left with any weightage in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Narendra Modi. The Bharatiya Janata Party is ready for this, because if after the elections the Janata Dal United wants to separate, it is ready to take the risk. Is a different matter that the in the Bharatiya Janata Party Rajnath Singh will in the beginning side fully with Narendra Modi, but as the elections draw closer, Rajnath Singh will first in the name of Advaniji, and then by bringing himself forward — become an obstacle in the path of Narendra Modi. Then, quite apart from this, the Bharatiya Janata Party will make the complete election strategy keeping Narendra Modi in front, whether it is a campaign or the selection of candidates or whether it is giving thrust or precedence to the States. In other words, all the decisions will be made not in accordance with the party but in accordance with Narendra Modi.
It is almost clear now that the Congress will fight the elections with Rahul Gandhi in front. But the biggest problem is for those who are neither in the Bharatiya Janata Party nor the Congress, like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Nitish Kumar, Chandrababu Naidu, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. In fact, in Indian politics, these are personalities amongst whom every person wants to become Prime Minister and also wants that his or her leadership should be accepted by all other allies and associates. Laloo Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan are also included amongst these, because they fully believe that if a situation arises in which there is no consensus, they will have no difficulty in coming forward for the Prime Minister’s post. However, there is a difficulty with all the names, including that of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The difficulty is that none of these persons want to talk to other colleagues, because if anyone of these names discusses matters with all the others, then perhaps a picture can form of the Third Front. But the truth is that in the States contradictions have arisen and are acting as barriers to the possible emergence of the Third Front. In Uttar Pradesh Mayawati and Mulayam Singh and in Bihar Laloo Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan. These two States are such where out of these personalities, no one wants to see the other advancing, and that is why the prospects of the Third Front appear to be almost nil.

The biggest problem is for those who are neither in the Bharatiya Janata Party nor the Congress, like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Nitish Kumar, Chandrababu Naidu, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. In fact, in Indian politics, these are personalities amongst whom every person wants to become Prime Minister and also wants that his or her leadership should be accepted by all other allies and associates. Laloo Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan are also included amongst these, because they fully believe that if a situation arises in which there is no consensus, they will have no difficulty in coming forward for the Prime Minister’s post.

Two scenarios of the Third Front can form. In the first scenario, if Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Chandrababu Naidu, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee get together and come to an agreement, then they can strongly oppose the Congress and the BJP. In the second scenario, Mulayam Singh is no longer present and Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha can come together and become a powerful opposition. Laloo Yadav has more or less made clear his scenario. He wants to fight the next election separately along with the Congress. However, Congress leaders in Bihar, most prominently Shakeel Ahmad, do not want to fight the elections along with Laloo Prasad Yadav at any cost. At present Shakeel Ahmad is Rahul Gandhi’s advisor at the national level on Muslim matters and only what he has to say on issues in Bihar is heard.
The possibility of a Third Front is under discussion because within the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is unable to establish his own leadership and is also unable to create trust for himself. In such a situation, how much cooperation the Congress would get from other parties is a very big, doubtful question. Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav or then Mayawati along with Karunanidhi do not have faith either in Rahul Gandhi’s ‘understanding’ of matters. That is why it does not seem possible at all that the Congress party under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership can fight an election and forge a strong alliance. However, the picture after the elections is different, because if the Congress bags around 200 seats, then whether Rahul Gandhi is the Prime Minister or some peon of Sonia Gandhi’s is the Prime Minister, getting support from other parties will not be difficult for it.
On the other side the Bharatiya Janata Party seems confused. Actually, it needs a part of the 20 per cent Muslim votes. Apart from the orthodox Hindu vote share, it also needs the votes of ordinary, non-orthodox Hindus. It needs the votes of the youth as well and its Government too should be formed with their help. In favour of Narendra Modi, what we call administration or is called governance, that slogan is becoming popular with the middle class or higher middle class North Indian youths. They think that no matter how wrong Narendra Modi’s ideological side or leanings may be, he is a good administrator and India needs an efficient administrator. Even though this argument goes against democracy, this argument is rotating amongst the middle class and upper middle class youths. In fact, young persons want that someone like Modi should come to power and should set right our lacerated administrative machinery. Therefore, Narendra Modi seems to be the most suitable person.
Narendra Modi wants to see his stature taller than that of all other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. If a suggestion comes before the Bharatiya Janata Party to nominate Narendra Modi for the Prime Minister’s post, then it is certain that looking at his age and style, in the future Rajnath Singh nor Sushma Swaraj nor Arun Jaitley will be able to dream of reaching the Prime Minister’s post. And in such a situation, the desire in Advaniji’s mind will remain in his mind, because when Delhi Pradesh BJP President Vijay Goel proposed the name of Advaniji for the post of Prime Minister before everybody, not only Yashwant Sinha, but Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha also supported his name. After this a surprising truth emerged, which is that Lal Krishna Advani himself did not negate the proposal. Narendra Modi’s emissaries or ‘envoys’ went to Advaniji and told him ‘Advaniji, negate the proposal’. But Advaniji said in clear words, ‘Why should I negate it?’ This incident indicates that the Bharatiya Janata Party is in an illusionary, confused position.
Another aspect of confusion comes in the form of a saying – “Sanshay mein dono gaye, Maya mili na Ram” ( “both went into a doubtful state and could find neither ‘Maya’ nor Ram”. If the BJP puts aside all ifs and buts, declares Narendra Modi as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister and runs an aggressive publicity campaign in the country, then it will at least make clear whether this country of 120 crores of people can be divided on a communal basis or not. If the country gets divided on a communal basis and Narendra Modi gets some 300 odd seats, then it must be assumed that in the coming 15-20 years in the country, a new decision will be treated as acceptable to all and then the country will run completely on Hinduwadi rules and laws. And if the Bharatiya Janata Party will want to do this in a hidden, covert manner, then perhaps it will cause it considerable damage. But it will become apparent to the people that the rest of the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders including Lal Krishna Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, will together not allow Narendra Modi to become the Prime Minister. Therefore, why will anybody accept Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and give votes to the Bharatiya Janata Party?
Compared to these strategies of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, the strategy of the Third Front appears very vague at present, its emergence also appears to be very difficult. But if non-Congress and non-BJP parties can realise that if they get together their numbers can equal those of the Congress alliance and the BJP alliance, then perhaps the Third Front can come into a more substantial existence. In both situations — whether Mulayam Singh remains in the Third Front or Mayawati — the Left parties will not hesitate to become a part of it. The condition of Left parties is quite weak. The way they lost in West Bengal, how much of a lead they can get in the Lok Sabha elections has to be seen, because there too the division of votes between the Congress and Mamata Banerjee can prove to be helpful for the Leftists. In Kerala, the Leftists will show their influence rapidly, but what is most unfortunate is that apart from Kerala and Bengal, the Leftists have so far not been able to take the lead in any State in the last 65 years. They have the organisation, but it is in a way not influential. And unless they get two-thirds seats in Bengal, two-thirds seats in Kerala, till then they will not have a very decisive say in national politics.
These are the tragedies in Indian politics which are confusing and making anxious the general public of India. Neither television nor newspapers carry the correct information to the people. The people take a decision keeping before themselves the problems of their area, and that is why that judgement takes them towards a fractured decision. One should hope that by the time of the 2014 elections, the common voter in India can understand these contradictions, because it sometimes happens that when a lot of doubts are facing one, then a person is able to recognise the truth. Therefore, for the Indian electorate, the coming elections and the actions and activities of the political parties will be in the form of a test.

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