Three years before the scheduled general elections, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar has got down to his political laboratory and started experimenting with the ‘tried and failed’ concept of a utopia called ‘Third Front’. Reported by TFI, upon the clarion call of Pawar, leaders of non-Congress parties and few intellectuals gathered at NCP patriarch’s New Delhi residence yesterday and discussed the possibility of the ‘unattainable’. Although none of the leaders attending the meet openly talked about it to the media.
TMC leader Yashwant Sinha, Lyricist Javed Akhtar, Rashtriya Lokdal President Jayant Chaudhary, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Samajwadi Party’s Ghanshyam Tiwari, AAP leader Sushil Gupta, CPI’s Binoy Viswam and CPM’s Nilotpal Basu were some of the few leaders of the rag-tag alliance currently being forged by Pawar.
After meeting poll strategist Prashant Kishor for the second time in two weeks, Pawar had called the meeting. However, an interesting development to emerge from the meeting was the snub extended to Congress and the Gandhi clan. While the dissident G-23 group of leaders was given the invitation, none of them attended the meet.
With the media having a field day that Congress was purposefully left out of the equation of a third front, Majeed Memon, the NCP leader had to come out and address the issue.
“There are talks that the meeting was for a third front without the Congress, which is not the truth. There is no discrimination. We called all like-minded people. We also invited Congress leaders. I called Vivek Tanha, Manish Tiwari, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Shatrughan Sinha for the meeting. They couldn’t come. It’s not true that we didn’t invite Congress,” said Memon.
However, the truth of the matter is that the opposition parties are done waiting for Congress party prince Rahul Gandhi to come off age and weave his political magic. If politics is the wizardry world, then Rahul Gandhi certainly is the unfortunate muggle, who despite having the best resources at his disposal, does not have the talent to rise anywhere near the towering stature of PM Narendra Modi.
The opposition has understood this reality and is now focusing on a front that is independent of Congress. Pawar, seemingly in the last stretch of his political career, is willing to gamble everything to fulfil his ambitions of becoming the PM which he came perilously close to achieving in 1991 and 1996.
Sharad Pawar’s desperation to build a third front could also stem from the fact that his money-minting factory, the cooperative banks of Maharashtra and their functioning has now come under the supervision of RBI, which has forced Pawar to find avenues to fund his political survival. As reported by TFI, during a party meeting on Wednesday (June 2), the NCP supremo gave his nod to set up a task force to prepare an action plan against the new law.
Meanwhile, BJP did not take the meet seriously and called it a gathering of rejected politicians. BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said, “Such meetings are held by leaders who’ve repeatedly been rejected by the public. This is not new. There are some companies that make a profit out of polls. They’ll obviously try to project every other leader as next PM. No one can be stopped from daydreaming.”
The murmur around the ‘Third Front’ is not a new phenomenon, however, what’s interesting is that a desperate opposition led by a yesteryear politician is willing to go into an overdrive mode, with elections still a few years ahead.