A lot has been happening in the political circle these days, from disrupted sessions of Parliament to talks about a third front for the 2019 general elections. Rumours about bitter enemies joining hands and a rat race among these ‘frenemies’ to appoint oneself as the leader of the united opposition never fails to amuse. Political leaders of today’s opposition have been known to change their stand on sensitive matters quite often. And they spare no-one when the tides turn in their favour. No one is sacred in the brutal battle ground of Indian politics. With the worrisome condition of Congress in India, the other regional political parties have a very important decision to make, whether to include Congress in the over hyped third front or not. Rahul Gandhi has in recent times proved to be a failure. His antics and all the sheltering provided to him by the Congress leaders have proved to be an exercise in vain. People have simply failed to see him as the competent successor in the Nehru- Gandhi dynasty, a dynasty which ensures a shot at one of the top positions in the country. But with Congress in no mood to project a new face for the PM candidature, other regional parties are facing a critical dilemma. The choice between including Congress in the third front or fighting an election against one of the most popular leaders in Indian history without the support of India’s oldest party.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Delhi a short while back to attend a dinner hosted by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The guest list for the dinner included many opposition leaders. While Mamata made quite a statement by attending the NCP chief’s dinner, she made an equally strong one by not attending the dinner hosted by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar has reportedly told the opposition parties that “The Congress is required for the country. It cannot be bypassed. Even in its weakened state, it alone has the pan-Indian reach other parties lack.”
Pawar also believes that the Congress should realize the importance of the regional parties who are willing to help. They should be given due respects and treated in a fair manner according to Pawar. With this tricky political manoeuvre, Pawar has hinted at Congress being essential for the third front while making sure that important cabinet posts as well as the Prime Minister post is up for grabs.
With two big leaders of the supposed third front giving out such confusing signals, the foundation seems to be weak. No unanimous consensus can be reached by these parties a year before the 2019 general elections. While many rumours keep on doing the rounds, it will be really a big challenge for the third front to make leaders like Mamata Banerjee (TMC) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI) see eye to eye on any given matter. The question will also arise as to who will be the leader and for how long will he remain undisputed even amongst the third front members. Parties which were formed because of opposing ideologies, who have left no stone unturned in the past to discredit each other at all levels, can they really form a strong coalition, strong enough to challenge the mighty NDA government? The very existence of many parties depends on their performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, failing which they are looking at political oblivion. The NDA rule has instilled fear in the hearts of the opposition who want to make a last desperate attempt at regaining their credibility and relevancy. The third front will be a shocking combination of worried and tired parties, desperately holding hands while we wait to find out whether the ‘palm’ of Congress joins the chain.