At a time when the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-RLD) alliance is on the brink of falling apart, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has once again given a call for the formation of a third front. He wants all the socialists and even the Left parties to join the platform against the Congress and the BJP before the forthcoming assembly elections.
In the past Yadav had raised the issue but the Left leaders' response was cold.
In a highly caste-ridden UP politics, the possibility of any socialist forum in the name of third front appears far-fetched. The call presumably is aimed at countering the growing influence of the Jan Morcha Alliance led by former Prime Minister VP Singh. Interestingly socialists are also in short supply in UP. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes who is sailing his lonely furrow, may not be able to make any substantial difference, if he finally decides to support the SP. More than any ideological commitment caste considerations weigh heavily in the state's elections.
On the eve of installation of his government in August 2003, Yadav had brought together various contradictory forces, which even included Mafiosi-turned politicians. But as the states is heading towards elections Yadav's much-publicized "rainbow coalition" lies in tatters. While Kalyan Singh has already gone back to saffron brigade to sing Ayodhya song, Congress is after Yadav's blood. Even though maverick RLD chief Chaudhury Ajit Singh is still sticking to Yadav, he has given enough indications to part ways with him before the elections.
The Left Front is a divided house in UP. While CPI and CPI (ML) have thrown their lot behind JMA, the CPM is yet to decide about the issue. However its state leaders are against joining hands with SP. In the past the LF had bitter experience in the state over seat sharing with the SP. However now with anti-incumbency haunting the ruling alliance, the parties have been weighing options before the taking the plunge.
The JMA, a group of several political parties of clashing interest, has only targeted the Samajwadi Party. The Raja of Manda is out to settle score with Yadav. Nobody took VP Singh seriously when he was roaming around the state and mobilising farmers under the banner of Kisan Manch. The SP swung into action only after Singh announced formation of JMA. VP and Yadav had not been pulling on well for a long time. But in order to mend fences Yadav met VP in Delhi in April last. But instead of softening attitude towards the chief minister, Singh announced formation of JMA that too led by suspended SP MP Raj Babbar, whose utility had been question by the SP.