The Third Front Realities and Possibilities

The action that the two parties – the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) — took in the matter of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Lok Sabha can be taken as an important signal of the kind of politics to come in the future. This was probably the first time that both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati were seen to have the same type of understanding and were seen taking the same type of action on any matter. It is not impossible to imagine that in the Legislative Assembly elections taking place after 4 years in Uttar Pradesh or in the Lok Sabha elections of the country, these two could also join together and contest the election.
The only question is : if they contest the elections jointly, then will the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the Congress get some seats or not. The straight answer : if both get together and contest elections on the basis of seat sharing, then the number of seats which the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress get would surely be less than eight. The rest of the seats would go to the BSP and the SP. But will the same result happen in the other states of India? The answer is ‘no’, because even after making the best efforts, neither has the SP been able to carve a position outside Uttar Pradesh and nor has BSP. One reason for this is that more than 100 per cent of the attention of both these leaders’ remains restricted to Uttar Pradesh and secondly, they contest elections only to achieve the status of a national party. In such a situation, what would be the picture of the Third Front ? Just a few weeks ago, in the Vitthalbhai Patel hall, a meeting was held at the Constitution Club in which the representatives of the Left parties and President of the Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav gathered. In that meetingm A.B. Bardhan, who is the most aged among the living leaders and the most sensible leader, openly laid a proposal on the stage that if Mulayam Singh Yadav gives some time, then there is a possibility of making a Third Front. Almost all the leaders spoke along these lines and Mulayam Singh Yadav also agreed to do the same. The Leftist leaders had, after getting together, declared Mayawati as the candidate for the post of the Prime Minister a few years back. After that declaration neither did these people contest the elections together nor did they give an assurance to the country that they really want to make Mayawati the Prime Minister. They have handed the command to make the Third Front to Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was a rival of Mayawati till now, with the hope that in the coming Lok Sabha election, the Third Front would win and Mulayam Singh Yadav would be the Chief of this Government. Mayawati is found nowhere in this Third Front. Not only Mayawati, there is no other Dalit leader in this Third Front. D. Raja, who is the Secretary of the Communist party, is indeed a Dalit, but no one takes him as a Dalit leader — neither in the north nor in the south. He is only considered the Secretary of the Communist Party.
Now when the Bharatiya Janata Party is saying Narendra Modi is the appropriate candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, in such a situation what is going to be the position of the Third Front ? It will be very interesting to see. The first reality is that there are more than 300 such Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, who have at some of time been in non-Congress and non- BJP politics. The irony is that some people, while continuing with their non-Congress and non-BJP politics, went to the Congress while some went to the BJP. This is important because the people of the country are taking these people to be relatively more honest, who by tradition have neither been with the Congress nor with the BJP. This means that if the parties who are non-Congress and non-BJP combine, then their possibility can be a little better.

All the big bureaucrats in Uttar Pradesh are ‘selections’ of  Mulayam Singh Yadav, and don’t give any importance to Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh Yadav, bound by ‘culture’, also calls women secretaries ‘aunty’ and calls an IAS officer  ‘uncle’. When his officers are ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’, then whether the dignity of the post of the Chief Minister suits Akhilesh Yadav or whether Akhilesh Yadav will be able to use the post of the Chief Minister for the development of the State  raises a lot of doubts. There is a rumour spreading outside Uttar Pradesh that Akhilesh Yadav is not being able to run the state in a controlled manner.

But can this Third Front or the non-Congress or the non-BJP parties combine among themselves? There are three parties, viz., the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Janata Dal United. The leaders of these parties do not even speak among themselves. Mulayam Singh Yadav does not talk with either Nitish Kumar or with Mayawati. Mawavati does not talk with either Nitish Kumar or Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar does not talk with any one of them. There is no talk between them, this is understandable. But there are a few more parties; they do not even talk with the leaders of those parties. Chandrababu Naidu, Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi, Navin Patnaik, Om Prakash Chautala are names who have an important position in their own zones. Be it the non-Congress or the non-BJP parties, whatever Front is made, apart from one of these leaders, all the other leaders will have to be included in the Front, otherwise it won’t be considered as a Third Front. Yeddyurappa has come out of the BJP in Karnataka. Which party speaks to him first, this will also be quite interesting to see. But then we come towards the parties of southern India. We started to speak with the leaders of many south Indian or leaders in states like Odisha, and all are saying that till the time any major political movement takes place in northern India, till then map for political change in the country cannot be made.
In northern India, where Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar are included,

without Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Nitish Kumar coming in the front and making a ‘bustle’, probably a ‘hustle’ will not be created. The workers from these States, may they be from the Samajwadi Party or from the Janata Dal United, all of them want at least Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar to come together. But there is a contradiction in the form of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. Mulayam Singh Yadav would like to keep Lalu Prasad Yadav with him and Nitish Kumar would try to stay away from Lalu Prasad Yadav. Till now it has been seen that Ram Vilas Paswan can be taken as the sole representative of his party in literal terms, but his turning around and his capacity to fight cannot be underestimated. Even after this, in Dalit society, Mayawati and Ram Vilas Paswan, both these names are not being seen making an approach towards each other; instead their efforts always remain to pull each other down.
There is no talk between these three leaders or there is no will power to have a talk among these three leaders. As a result of this party workers are really looking very disappointed. But now the workers have also become very clever. Previously they used to tell their leaders — speak to some other people, these are the troubles in the country, and these are the problems. Today the workers have also become masters in flattery. They tell their leaders, may it be Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati or Nitish Kumar, that the Government can never be formed without you. They say on the basis of ‘power of small’ that there should be just 30 to 35 Members of Parliament and people will be compelled to make the Chief of these 30 to 35 Members of Parliament the Prime Minister. The three major parties of northern India are running on this theory of their workers. Whereas what should happen is that, keeping the problems of the country in mind, leaders should have gone to the public’s doors and spoken to them unitedly or collectively, and should have motivated them in their favour to obtain power in Delhi. But these three leaders believe that if 30 to 35 Members of Parliament are theirs, then nobody can stop them from becoming the Prime Minister.
This is a dangerous position. The Leftist parties are not in a position to put pressure. The image of Prakash Karat is clean but he hesitates in taking any initiative. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has shrunk in the entire country and they do not want to take any initiative in any Hindi speaking state. There are good leaders in the Hindi belt with the Communist Party, and one of the names in this is of Atul Kumar Anjan. Atul Kumar Anjan is doing some really good work among the farmers and he started his career as a student leader. But Atul Kumar Anjan or any Communist Party of any State of northern India do not have any such blueprint, which they can take and go in front of the public and tell the common people of a way to include themselves with them. What is happening is that the entire Left has become confined within Kerala and West Bengal. In such a situation there is no sign of change far and wide. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Nitish Kumar are not seen to have any impact outside their own territories.
Let us have a close look at the three leaders. The politics of Mulayam Singh Yadav begins with 20 per cent Dalit opposition. Mulayam Singh Yadav is seen to disagree with the formulas of Mayawati. He had all the backward classes of Uttar Pradesh with him and Mulayam Singh Yadav was considered as the most combative leader. He also had the trust of Choudhary Charan Singh and later when he joined hands with Chandrashekhar and mainly when Amar Singh came to join him, a few segments from the upper castes also joined Mulayam Singh Yadav. But Mulayam Singh Yadav could never become the leader of the entire backward classes. The two castes which are said to be strong in Uttar Pradesh are the Lodhs and Shakyas. They have been with the Bharatiya Janata Party till date, whereas the smaller castes like potters, washermen, carpenters have often been with Mayawati. When Mulayam Singh Yadav was in the Government, he did not give attention to the interests of the farmers though himself was a farmer. The reason behind this might have been his friend Amar Singh, who had brought all the big businessmen from Mumbai to Lucknow and it was felt that the weight of all those businessmen was on the back of Mulayam Singh Yadav and they wanted to see Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Prime Minister. After the departure of Amar Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav kept aloof from everybody for some time, but suddenly Anil Ambani and in some instances Mukesh Ambani was again seen with him. This time a few mistakes of Mayawati played a vital role in bringing Mulayam Singh Yadav into power. Mayawati became famous as an egoistic woman in Uttar Pradesh. The people who were near to Mayawati made such an image of her, which is of a dictator. Any politician or any representative of a particular class, who goes before Mayawati, her way of doing politics seems to prove this. The consequence was that all the middle castes and the upper castes became distant from Mayawati, whose result was availed by Mulayam Singh Yadav in the form of a win. Mulayam Singh Yadav made his son Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The people saw a new possibility in Akhilesh Yadav and one single symbolic work of Akhilesh made him a different entity from his party in the eyes of the people. This incident was the announcement of Azam Khan even before including strong leader of Ghaziabad, D.P.Yadav in the Samajwadi Party and then Akhilesh Yadav vetoing it. The people felt that Akhilesh Yadav will practice a different type of politics. But now there are a lot of negative discussions in Uttar Pradesh about Akhilesh Yadav. The bureaucracy of Uttar Pradesh is seen divided among Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav, Azam Khan and Ram Gopal Yadav. All the big bureaucrats are ‘selections’ of Mulayam Singh Yadav, and don’t give any importance to Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh Yadav, bound by ‘culture’, also calls women secretaries ‘aunty’ and calls an IAS officer ‘uncle’. When his officers are ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’, then whether the dignity of the post of the Chief Minister suits Akhilesh Yadav or whether Akhilesh Yadav will be able to use the post of the Chief Minister for the development of the State raises a lot of doubts. There is a rumour spreading outside Uttar Pradesh that Akhilesh Yadav is not being able to run the state in a controlled manner. The reality is opposite to this, but the entire system of Akhilesh Yadav is busy in proving the rumour, instead of brushing up that image of Akhilesh Yadav which made him the hero of the win of the Samajwadi Party.
Mayawati is sitting silent as per the old politics in Uttar Pradesh that when the illusions of the people about the Samajwadi Party will disappear, then the people will vote for her party. Anyway the Third Front cannot be formed around Mayawati, because the thinking of Mayawati does not seem focused on the Third Front or on bringing the non-Congress and non-BJP parties together.
In making the Third Front, the third person who will play the most competent role is Nitish Kumar. The people saw a lot of possibilities in Nitish Kumar and many people went to Nitish Kumar. But the thing which made the strongest impact on the style of Nitish Kumar’s working was his style of not believing even his own party men. He has left an impression in Bihar that he only feels himself secure speaking only to those people who have a bureaucratic style, and feels that getting the work done through the bureaucracy is appropriate. In terms of results, in the whole of Bihar, the Janata Dal United has become that part of the Government whose impact on the people is coming to an end. The people of the Janata Dal United are saying that for Nitish Kumar, the whole of India is his own district and his own thinking is never to sit on the throne of power in Delhi. This is why Nitish Kumar hesitates from speaking with those parties who are attached only technically with the BJP and the Congress. Previously this communication gap did not exist in politics. People used to talk with the people of other parties and used to call them and used to spend some time together. Now this tradition has ended. This defunct tradition has made the future of the Third Front dark. One more problem is going to come before the leaders of the Janata Dal United. If the BJP really announces Narendra Modi as their candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, then what will Nitish Kumar do? Will Nitish Kumar leave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) immediately? If he does not leave the NDA, then his credibility will be reduced to near zero levels in the entire country. This has to be decided by Nitish Kumar himself : that by taking a step at a later point of time, will he be able to speak with the other parties with the same strength from which the Third Front can be formed or will the Janata Dal United remain confined to Bihar alone.
Anna Hazare is also a factor in the formation of this so called Third Front. If Anna Hazare and General V. K. Singh put such an agenda before the political parties of the country which will make them sweat to understand and accept it, then from there on a new politics gets a new start, quite apart from the non-Congress, non-BJP and the non-established political parties. It will be interesting to see what agendas will be put forward by Anna Hazare and General V. K. Singh before the political parties and the country in the coming two months. The direct meaning of this is that by February the face of the Third Front will emerge or will end forever. Also, till February, will any non-political, political force which would have the support of Anna Hazare and General V. K. Singh, begin the process of emergence or not? The political parties are still forgetting and probably Anna Hazare and General V. K. Singh are also forgetting that the Lok Sabha mid-term elections might be held in May-June next year. Whatever signal comes in Parliament, the pressure of the economic conditions and the contradictions of the political parties might compel everyone to hold elections. One important thing is that Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati gave support to the Congress in the Lok Sabha because of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The decision on Mulayam Singh Yadav having disproportionate assets is pending in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will be announcing the decision. According to information reaching us, the decision has already been made. The Government is making efforts to delay the announcement of the judgement and the effort of the Law Minister is that regardless of whether the decision goes in favour of Mulayam Singh Yadav or not, it should not be announced now. As much as it can be delayed, it should be avoided to that extent. Only one meaning emerges from this : that the Government is using that decision on which the signatures of three judges have already been taken to scare Mulayam Singh Yadav so that he cannot take any political decision.

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