Third Front constituents TRS, JD(S) and AIADMK have already expressed willingness to do business with the BJP or the Congress but the Left has not given up its hopes of forming a ‘non-Congress, non-BJP’ government.
“Third Front leaders will meet on May 18. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will join these discussions. We will explore the possibilities of forming an alternative secular government,” CPM chief Prakash Karat said.
Already drifting from the grand concept of non-Cong, non-BJP alternative and rooting for their special interests in their respective regions, JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi while TRS leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao participated in a rally of the BJP-led NDA.
AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa has said she is keeping her options open, and the vulnerability of the Front is on the rise as both BJP and the Congress strive hard to win over new allies, primarily from the Third Front.
The Left, however, feels reassured by TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu’s backing and assurances of JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda, and insisted that it would try to form a non-Congress, non-BJP government and that all Third Front allies were intact. The boost ostensibly came from calls made by Gowda, while his son, Kumaraswamy, was still closeted with the Sonia late on Tuesday night.
“We are in regular touch with JD(U) heavyweight Nitish Kumar. He is important for us. When and where we are talking I can’t say,” a senior Left leader said, requesting anonymity. However, Kumar has steered away from overtures made by both the Congress and Left. The Left hopes to lure other parties with the good offices of Naidu, Gowda and BJD chief Biju Patnaik, he said.
Karat said he was in touch with Naidu on a “daily basis” and called both Naidu and Gowda as the “main movers” of the Third Front. The BSP’s confirmation has also come as a boost to the Left but the viability of a Third Front remains all but fragile. In the morning, the chiefs of the three Left parties — A.B. Bardhan of CPI, Karat of CPM and Debabrata Biswas of the Forward Bloc — met at the CPM headquarters to discuss their next moves. The informal meeting of the three concluded that the Third Front should show its strength on May 18.
However, the Left faces an uphill task, as it pieces the big jigsaw picture. Third Front allies AIADMK and TDP, it is believed, have yet to take the final call and this will depend on how the two big parties, Congress and BJP, perform.