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Arun Jaitley: Third Front or the 'Losers' Front'?

Last updated on: February 03, 2014 16:56 IST

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley feels the JD-U and SP, the prime movers behind the idea of Third Front, are ‘potential losers’ in their areas of influence, and are no match to Narendra Modi-led NDA.

Is the Third Front back? Who exactly is pushing the idea of the Third Front? What are its implications?

The prime movers behind the idea of Third Front are the Janata Dal-United and the Samajwadi Party. Both are facing a serious identity crisis.

The JD-U broke a long standing alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and faces the possibility of being squeezed out in the Lok Sabha elections. The party is essentially confined to Bihar.

Its leaders took a calculated risk and had hoped that Lalu Prasad Yadav would be in prison and the minority vote would shift to them. The bail granted to the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader destroyed the JD-U’s calculations.

The SP in Uttar Pradesh is responsible for keeping both the UPA-I and UPA-II in power. On all crucial occasions it helped the UPA.

The quid-pro-quo was help from the Central Bureau of Investigation for weakening the corruption cases registered against its top leaders and their family members.

It is extremely difficult for the Samajwadi Party to project a credible political personality on the plank of non-Congressism. Its political strategy is always based on two vote banks -- the Yadavs and the Muslims.

The first is also partly voting for Narendra Modi and the second is completely disillusioned after the Muzaffarnagar riots. Both the JD-U and the SP are potential losers in their areas of influence. Losers don’t become winners merely because they attempt to form a ‘losers’ front’. 

The essential requisite of a Third Front is equidistance from the Congress and the BJP. How can the JD-U and the Samajwadi Party claim that? The JD-U lost out to the RJD in a bid to befriend the Congress. The SP kept the UPA in power for ten years.

Then, of course, there are regional parties in some states. These regional parties have a support base of their own. Within their states they are likely to win a reasonable number of Lok Sabha seats. These regional parties occupy the non-Congress space.

They have in the past been identified with the National Democratic Alliance. Their politics can never be one of alignment with the Congress. That will dilute their political identity.

The Congress, in any case, does not appear to be heading for a position where it can occupy the centre stage of a credible political alliance. It can at best be a fringe player, not a formidable part.

There are the contradictions of the Third Front -- the Trinamool Congress versus the Left, the SP versus the Bahujan Samaj Party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam versus the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the JD-U versus the RJD. They constitute a political paradox which a Third Front can never resolve.

The Third Front has no ideological coherence. It has no nucleus with a large political presence which can provide stability to the front. 

The disillusionment with the Congress-led UPA is clearly visible. To pull the economy out of the present mess, you need coherence, decisiveness and political stability. The Third Front represents the very opposite of all these.

The more noise we hear about the Third Front, the greater will be the desire to elect Narendra Modi-led NDA government which has an ability of its own to form a government. 

Image: JD-U leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (left) and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav

Arun Jaitley