The ‘Third Front’ Politics aka power of Regional Politics and the ‘unanticipated 14th Prime Minister of India’

By D.Dhanuraj*

The election commission is ready to declare the schedule of General Elections 2014. Political parties are busy in building alliances. It’s the coalition politics era in India!

The main stream parties; Congress and BJP are still dilly dallying with the political formations they should push to occupy Raisina Hills.

There are many ‘If’s and ‘But’s in the scene and poll pundits are obscured with the resurrection of the strategies of AAP by resigning from the Delhi Government.

It is for sure that the new Government formation is not going to be an easy task for any of political parties as most pollsters predict a very fractured mandate this year.

Every party is willing to buy the coalition government at the centre and it offers number of opportunities even for smaller parties when the fight is so close and exciting.

Both UPA and NDA are still scouting for their partners and allies. For UPA,  anti-incumbency is at the peak riding on policy paralysis and corruption.Every party is sure of the  role of communal equations and the importance of pleasing communal forces, though for most of them, BJP is the only political party with the communal tag

So as usual or rather as the pre-election ritual, talks for third front have started.

Most of the parties supporting the Third front are opponents at the State level. Power hungry politicians in the name of ‘keeping away the dynasties and communal parties from the power’ started hob nobbling each other. Many foresee a hung parliament and theopportunities for the third front.

The past experiences encourage the regional parties and Netas to eye for PM chair as they expect support from Congress outside to keep the Communal forces away from the power.

Rumor in the town is that some of the regional partiesmay seek BJP support in case if NDA does not get majority on their own. They say BJP does not mind supporting a formation from outside to keep the corrupt politicians and dynasty from the corridors of the power.

These two scenarios augurs well for the regional parties to dream high about their prospects in the post-election times. They are not bothered about the Common Minimum Program or Stability of th Government, for that matter.

In this situation, one may wonder who would be leaders who bet for the Prime Minister post. There is no dearth for the regional leaders who aspire for the post of PM. As of now, there are six national parties and fifty odd state and regional parties. Both Mayawati and SharadPawar are in the list of National Parties. The Communist parties are fighting to save their recognition as national parties this time. Unlike in the past, election results may cajole a regional party leader to the PM post.

Mayawati may be ruled out for her lack the support from her own State and not so rosy electoral outcome forecasted. Pawar has always shown interest in PM post in the past. But it depends on how many seats NCP is going to win and how many of the alliance partners will be ready to support him. In a major coup, he can be the PM supported by Congress from outside and a coalition Government comprising all the secular and socialist forces!

If not Pawar and Mayawati, the leader of any Third front Government will be from a regional outfit even though some of them have played a major role in coalition governments at the national level in the last one decade. But the question is if Nitish or Mamata or Jayalalitha are elevated to the PM post, what would be the approach of the bureaucracy and citizens to them? All these leaders are identified with the local and regional politics (even though they are known at the national level) and for their whimsical ideas for their regional pride and collusions to extend their careersby the art of making.

Hue and cry about regional parties benefitting their regions and do not approve of national plans will be outspoken in Prime MInistership itself.

Wouldn’t it be a different narrative for the political dynamics and decentralization in this country? Will PM heed for more voices at the regional level or would become a votary of decentralization? Would PM become more accommodative and considerate to the demands of the other regional parties? Would it change the Centre-State relationship as PM has already experienced at the State level? Will it change the nomenclature of the recommendations of Finance Commissions? Dear  14th PM (whoever it is) of India, we are as excited and hopeful as you about the General Elections, 2014

* Dr. D.Dhanuraj is the Chairman of CPPR

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