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Millennium Post

Frontal attack on secular grounds

How real are the chances of a Third Front coming to power post 2014 elections? If we go by the electoral surveys and poll math put forward by media pundits, the chances are slim to none. However, given the strong anti-incumbency factor, whether the UPA dispensation would battle the odds and still make it to the centre is also equally circumspect. On the other hand, despite the surge of supporters in Narendra Modi’s favour, it remains to be seen how much of that well of support translates into actual vote share. In this context, when unpredictability and ability to draw out pre- or post-poll alliances are going to be paramount to the eventual outcome of 2014 general elections, it does seem that possibility of an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress is not that remote. In fact, even if we discount the Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s bold proclamations that the ‘formation of a Third front is a natural fallout of the 2014 elections as neither the Congress, nor the BJP would have enough seats in their kitty to form the government,’ what is significant is that the idea of a non-Congress/non-BJP formation has been rescued from the political wilderness and planted back in the forefront of electoral maneuvering. Given that Mulayam has met the top Left Front leader and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, and is considering liaising with regional honchos, with a secular image, such as Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik, CPI’s AB Bardhan, the viability of a Third Front, if it is formed, cannot be dismissed outright, even though pre-election sloganeering of a third or fourth front often ends up becoming nothing but hot air and strategies to extract favours from the ruling regime at the Centre.

It must be noted that the mood of the nation at present is poised to experiment with or effect change in leadership. Clearly, the Congress-led UPA is in no shape to provide an example of stellar leadership, given that it inevitably falls back on the dynasty to bail it out from stupendous legislative and political blunders, such as the latest ordinance to protect convicted MLAs and MPs from electoral disqualification. Moreover, despite the two landmark laws such as the Food Security Act and the Land Acquisition Act, the UPA has been after all infested with corruption scams that have made a massive dent in its image. On the other hand, in spite of being the ‘most Googled’ person online, Narendra Modi still has to make his hardline, pro-development agenda enviable to the rural masses outside his hometurf of Gujarat and the current BJP strongholds such as Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh, in order to make an impact in the 2014 general elections. Evidently, to move beyond the bipolarity of the current political scenario, the regional parties should gather their collective momentum and consolidate a muscular bulwark that would be a refreshing change from the Hindutva-sporting saffron camp and the pseudo-secular, incorrigibly corrupt Congress party. If the upcoming national convention on secularism can be used to beat out a suitable strategy to stump the main political camps, there is an actual chance. Clearly, the sum total of the secular forces, including the self-interrogating Left Front, if they come together, could at least play the kingmakers in the national elections, if not be the rulers themselves.
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