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Monday, December 2, 2013

GD: The third front is a viable alternative to Congress & BJP

While those in favour say the coalitions led by the two national parties as a failure; those against say the idea of third front is nothing but an opportunistic alliance that has never done the country any good in the past
A viable third alternative seems more and more feasible today as the people have realised that the Congress and the BJP are at best a substitute for one another.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-2 government has exhausted its mandate without living up to it. Its previous term (2004-09) and that of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 1999-2003 was no better. There is unprecedented political, economic and moral crisis in the country. The value of Indian rupee has declined to its lowest level ever. The prices of essential commodities are spiralling and we have near doubledigit inflation. The government makes no effort to contain it.
On the other hand, the government is brazenly in favour of multinational companies and has no compunction about subjecting the aam aadmi to suffering, and burdening the people through indirect taxes of different kinds. Tax exemptions are doled out to corporate houses.
While the country’s economy has clocked impressive growth rates in recent years, the condition of the poor and the underprivileged has worsened. Corruption has grown by leaps and bounds. The common man has seen through the game. The government is suffering from a loss of credibility and moral authority. It has failed to deliver and is in power by default.
The BJP-led NDA is little different from the UPA. Both are two faces of the same coin. Their economic policy, outlook on fiscal and monetary matters, and leanings on foreign policy are near-identical. Moreover, the BJP is in complete disarray. If the Congress is in power today, it is because the BJP is at sixes and sevens.
51In the emerging situation, we do not visualise either the Congress-led UPA or the BJP-led NDA coming to power in the next general election. There is strong likelihood of a realignment of political forces which can lead to change in the balance of forces in the country.
The CPI and other Left parties are striving to project a viable third alternative. Such an alternative seems more and more real as it is being realised that the Congress and the BJP are at best a substitute for one another. The policies they pursue are the same. They cannot offer change that would better the lives of ordinary people.
There is definitely a possibility of a third alternative emerging in 2014 as an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP. It is evident that the days of one-party rule have ended. Today no political party can win the election on its own or form a government on its own.
The Left and regional forces have a role to play here and do have space in such a scenario. Regional parties have become a force to reckon with because of the failure of both BJP and Congress led coalitions. They understand the aspirations and concerns of people better than national ones.
People have already seen governments led by the Congress as well as the BJP, and know from experience that such governments do not work in their interest. What people want to see now is a government with an alternative outlook which is not led by the Congress or the BJP. Such a coalition is on the cards.
The idea of the so-called third front as a vaible alternative is not new and keeps up propping from time to time especially by parties such as the Left that can’t cohabit with both the Congress and the BJP. The futility of this idea has been amply demonstrated by their failure in the past.
One only needs to go into their history to look at their future. They have come together before and even formed governments, but the personal ambitions of their leaders have let them down. The country has been denied stability under their rule. Their governments have crashed within months of their formation. The first third front experiment in recent times started when Janata Dal leader and former Congressman Vishwanath Pratap Singh became the Prime Minister in December 1989. Internal bickering between collation leaders saw the fall of his government in November 1990. The second third front government led by HD Deve Gowda lasted from June 1996 to April 1997. The third and the last third front government led by Inder Kumar Gujral (April 1997 – March 1998) again fell before completing one year in office.
Reasons for their failure are not difficult to find. These parties are diverse and do not share a national perspective.
If regional parties come together, it will be for the sake of power alone. These parties are diverse and do not share a common ideology or grand perspective which is important in pursuing a goal. The regional parties have failed to serve the people when given a chance. The so-called ‘third front’ which has regional parties and the leftists as its constituents, has no agenda other than opposition to the Congress and the BJP. They lack a national perspective and are led by leaders whose provincial mindset hinders them from looking beyond the needs of their respective states. The prime objective is to grab as much of central funds as possible for wasteful expenditure in the name of development. The present situation is even more precarious for the regional forces and the state parties lack a leader who enjoys national acceptability and can knit them together. Even if they get the numbers after 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the regional satraps will fight one another for leadership. Any compromise is likely to be short-lived as shown by the tenures of V. P Singh, H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral. In contrast, coalitions led by national parties have given stability at the centre. The BJP-led NDA completed its full term in 2003 followed by another two full terms by Congress-led UPA (2004-2014).


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