Millennium Post

Between a hope and old tropes

While the ‘Convention Against Communalism’ – that saw the great confluence of all the non-Congress secular forces, including the Left parties, the NCP, the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Biju Janata Dal, among others – is a welcome development,  how real is the hope for a Third Front? Clearly, it is an attempt to stave off both the relentless but blatantly pro-Hindutva rise of Narendra Modi, and the continuation of a corruption-infested and inept rule by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. The consolidation of a Third Front, at least at the ideological level, is an important development, if only to provide an veritable alternative to the rabidly communal and pseudo-secular fronts that masquerade as the political options available in the Indian electoral scenario. However, the problem this time around is that formidable forces to reckon with, including Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party, weren’t present, thereby significantly cutting down on the range of influence that the Front could have delivered. Since the important regional leaders and their respective parties have been left out of the political calculations, does the Third Front even have a decent chance under the sun to draw in supporters and voters, or strike up a post-poll alliance to outcompete the two major participants in the electoral fray?

It remains to be seen if the Third Front (that is intended as a platform to counter the polarising forces of the BJP and the Congress-led UPA, and according to Sitaram Yechury, the convener of the meet, a stocktaking forum to voice the growing disenchantment with politics of communalism, terrorism and other anti-democratic forces) an actually become a reality, or ends up once again as pre-poll mirages cooked up by parties seeking to up the ante before ultimately hooking up with one of the two major political camps. Ironically, even as the convention was taking take place, Muzaffarnagar was being engulfed by a fresh bout of violence. Hence, it is not enough to raise concerns against forces of ‘fascism, communalism and terrorism’ alone in hallowed seminar rooms, but bring out the reformative ideas to the open and have them serve the needs on the ground.
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