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 the Third Front. He wants all socialists and even the Left parties to unite against the Congress and the BJP before the forthcoming State assembly elections. Yadav had raised the issue in the past too but the Left leaders’ response was cold.
In the highly caste-ridden UP politics, the possibility of any socialist forum in the name of a third front appears to be far-fetched. The call is presumably 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 ploughing his lonely furrow, may not be able to make any material difference, if he finally decides to support the SP.
Caste considerations weigh more heavily in UP elections than any ideological commitment.
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 State is heading towards elections, Yadav’s much-publicised “rainbow coalition” lies in tatters. While Kalyan Singh has already gone back to the saffron brigade to sing the Ayodhya tune, the Congress is baying for Yadav’s blood. 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 the JMA, the CPM is yet to decide on the issue.
However, its state leaders are against joining hands with the SP. In the past, the LF had a bitter experience in the State over seat sharing with the SP.
However, now with anti-incumbency haunting the ruling alliance, the parties are weighing their options before 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 scores 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 the formation of the JMA.
VP and Yadav had not been pulling along well for a long time. In order to mend fences, Yadav met VP in Delhi in April . But instead of softening his stance towards the chief minister, Singh announced the formation of the JMA, that too led by suspended SP MP Raj Babbar, whose utility had been questioned by the SP.