Dear Tridivesh Singh Maini,
I was pleased to read through your op-ed page article in the Hindu dated June 25, 2013.
You have done a good service by taking up the tough job of articulating the possible scenario in forming a third front or a federal front.
I had read through your piece for the second time. Such is the complex issue of forging a third front in India.
Now, as I see your four points are worth pondering over, not by the readers alone but by the players, namely the politicians, the chief ministers in fact!
I am an active politician in the sense I am an insider, an inside Congressman, was MLC for a term in Madras, from 1968-74. I was close to Kamaraj. In Tamil Nadu for example it is next to impossible for the Congress to win any seat without joining the DMK or the ADMK party front.
In fact, in most big states like Bihar, UP or W.B. the Congress is zero in those states. First, the total seats the Congress-led front and the BJP-led front likely to be won in the 2014 elections only might decide the third/federal front. A clear front from the beginning in unlikely to emerge or get any clarity as things are, unless, it is a big unless Nitish Kumar’s next moves acquire some attraction, so to say. Let us be clear and bit blunt too.
The Congress would only be interested to project Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate and there can’t be any alternative in this strategy. So too the BJP. Mr.Modi is likely to polarise the polity on communal lines and that is his only strength, if we can say so. How can Nitish Kumar go about?
There are so many ego clashes possible: Jayalalitha, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati, besides Mulayam Singh Yadav. How relevant or strong with others like Naveen Patnaik and Chandrababu Naidu?
Only a highly polarised campaign could determine the outcome of the elections. In my considered opinion and as you yourself has pointed out that there must be a leader, who can articulate a long-term and deeper ideological broad picture for India, an India on the international forefront as a potential big power can inspire the voters to go for a more liberal, open and a secular force.
This means we must have some ideological articulation on the Centre-Left or Centrist economic and social and secular party or parties’ front as a viable platform. Can this ideological polarisation can be brought about?
It depends on the capabilities of the leaders. Even within the Congress party this ideological polarisation is possible. I myself am articulating such an ideological polarisation. This would surely cut at the very dynastic ambitions of the party.
There are serious issues here. How long Sonia Gandhi can continue as party President?
How can Rahul Gandhi perform, if projected or forced upon the scene?
Any clear-headed leader of some strength and substance, stature and conviction can tilt the forces to such a broad-based ideological alternative.
As for Mr.Modi, given his single-minded determination and also (let us not forget or pretend) by the backing of the corporate lobby he is likely to project a Centre-Right or plain Right-wing ideological push.
There is such a deep dissatisfaction from the corporate lobby and such backers like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani and others who might gang up against the Congress-led dynastic alternative.
So, it is possible for the Modi leadership to gain some traction, given the money power and other forces of mobilisation, the RSS and Shivsena and other forces to making this outcome possible.
So, the question of forging a third front ,with the egos and narrow minded interests of the state and regional leaders seem extremely thin and could e only a gamble as at present.
May be next few months might give us more clearer picture.
Yes, it a truism: time and tide wait for nobody. Miracles do happen only in politics!
With all the best wishes.