The victory of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu has revived the discussion on the formation of a third front ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Banerjee herself indicated that she could take the lead in such an initiative. “Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal, Naveen Patnaik, Mayawati and Jayalalithaa are my friends. I will talk to them,” she said after her party’s stupendous performance in state elections.
The Bihar chief minister was quick to respond as he reiterated his stand that there should be maximum effort to bring on one platform all the parties opposed to the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.
Kumar also said the Trinamool Congress chief “is in the frame for unity” of anti-BJP forces in view of a massive mandate she got from the electorate.
But for a broader front to take shape, Kumar would have to bring the bitter political rivals Trinamool Congress and the Left on board. Though Kumar shares a good rapport with Banerjee and Left leaders as well, he faces an uphill task of bringing the two adversaries on the same political platform.
While the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha is likely to support a third front which it said was a necessity, it remains to be seen if Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Tamil Nadu counterpart respond positively to such a proposal.
The other big challenge will be to bring together the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party as the two rivals prepare to fight a bitter political battle in Uttar Pradesh early next year.