The projection of Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and electoral compulsions in their respective areas of influence have virtually forced major non-Congress non-BJP parties to come together yet again at the initiative of the Left parties.
The Janata Dal (United), Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK and Samajwadi Party — the parties ruling Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh — have confirmed their participation to the Left leaders for the October 30 convention against communalism in the capital.
Apart from the ruling parties in these four big states, smaller players, including the chief ministers of Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tripura, are also likely to register their presence at this convention, being seen as yet another attempt to revive the often-failed third front experiment of the past.
“The convention is for purely underlining the importance of secularism in the country given the attempts being made by certain forces to communalise the atmosphere before the general elections. No electoral front is on the agenda, it is a media creation,” said a senior Left leader.
He, however, did not rule out the possibility of parties participating in the convention coming together at a later stage.
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said he and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will represent their party at the convention. “Tall claims are being made by some parties about their potential allies. The participation of a large number of parties in the conclave will be an eye-opener,” Yadav told HT.
“Asom Gana Parishad leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha leader Babulal Marandi, whom some parties were counting as their allies, will be also present at the convention,” said JD(U) leader KC Tyagi.
Though the Left and JD(U) leaders are downplaying the possibility of a third alternative emerging from the Tuesday’s convention, they have dropped enough hints that political gatherings lead to a possible understanding for the future.
However, the bitter experiences of 1989 and 1996, when the third front minority governments, dependant on the support of BJP and Congress respectively, remained inherently unstable and failed to complete even a year in the office, these parties are circumspect about any such experiment for the next year’s elections.
“All coalition governments in India have taken concrete shape only after the declaration of election results. Let us wait and see what the people decide in the Lok Sabha elections,” said a Left leader.