Indian Third Front under Bihar CM Nitish to fight elections against BJP with Congress help?
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Against the background of a fallen Congress party struggling to survive and a strong but wavering BJP unable fulfill the poll pledges made to people, a third front led by a few important northern politicians with socialist background is taking shape in the northern India and Bihar which would go to polls soon would the testing field to finalize and even enlarge the poll front to work together to face the next national elections when it happen.
Some socialist constituents of erstwhile Janata Party which had come into existence as the Congress Party withdrew in 1977 the draconian emergency laws imposed by the then PM Indira Gandhi in 1977 following Allahabad High Court setting aside her election to parliament, and won the general poll to from the first ever non-Congress government at centre and later in many states, are now busy recasting their strategy to revive the Janata Party in some form.
The communist parties which were a part of similar third front earlier have not made any willingness to join the amalgam. It seems they are inclined to join the totally routed Congress led first front with worst ever corruption record to save the senior most party from disappearing from Indian political scene, leaving the BJP led communal parties the sole beneficiary. However, the emerging third front leaders are in talks with CPM led left parties for electoral understanding. .
The whole country has its eyes on the elections in Bihar. The Hindutva communal forces work fast and the alliance should saw the need of the hour. A known socialist politician who is now in the centre of merger move is the Janata Dal (United) leader and incumbent Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who will lead an anti-BJP coalition for this year’s Bihar Assembly elections. Other two major social leaders and MPs who back him are the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (former defence minister) from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar’s Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal – they have nominated Nitish Kumar to be the alliance’s presumptive chief minister.
The Janata Party (People’s Party) was a child of the most epoch-making struggle in the history of Indian democracy and was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the Indian national Congress and the State of Emergency that was imposed between 1975 and 1977 by the government of India under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi of Congress party. In the general election held after the end of the state of emergency in 1977, the Janata party defeated Congress to form the first non-Congress government in the history of the Republic of India. In March 1977 the people of India, under the inspiring leadership of Jayaprakash Narayanan, elected the Janata Party to power and entrusted it with the task of restoring democracy and freedom to the people and constructing an egalitarian. However, Morarji Desai led Janata government could not complete its full term owing to inner fighting.
After decades of bitter rivalry in Bihar politics, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar came together last year after being trounced by the BJP in the Parliamentary election. The strongman from UP and Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has announced Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate in Bihar. The three leaders have launched it as a testing exercise in Bihar state in north India which is going to poll, scheduled in September-October. They have declared the defeat of communal BJP as their chief objective of their united front. By making Lalu Prasad recommend Nitish Kumar’s name on June 08, Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to signal unity in the ranks of the nation-wide partnership of socialist parties that he leads. But in a telling appeal, Lalu Prasad asked workers of both the RJD and the JD (U) to ensure the victory of the coalition.
Mulayam Singh’s announcement ended days of speculation that the proposed alliance between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JDU and Lalu Prasad’s RJD in the state would be a non-starter, as senior leaders of both parties made tough public statements on the issue of choosing a chief ministerial candidate. By Mulayam Singh’s side at his Delhi residence today sat Lalu Prasad, who said, “I had asked Mulayam ji to decide and said we’ll all accept it. Nitish Kumar is our chief ministerial candidate.” Prasad added, “No one from the RJD is interested in becoming chief minister.”
Lalu Prasad, also a former chief minister of Bihar and former central Railways minister cannot run for office due to his conviction in a corruption case earlier. Knowing full well that he cannot run for office due to his conviction in a corruption case, Lalu who was stated to have been batting to project one of his family members as deputy chief minister had to back out following the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi sending clear signals that he was backing Nitish Kumar as the chief minister, leaving the old ally the RJD high and dry.
Notwithstanding the Janata Parivar alliance Nitish suspects that the RJD chief may not possibly be able to transfer his core Yadav votes to the Janata Dal. He is, therefore, wooing the Congress to be a part of the secular alliance as that will not only keep Lalu under check but will also consolidate Dalit and Muslim votes. Nitish Kumar’s calculation is that the Congress has equal number of votes of Dalits and Muslims as the RJD. The sources said though the Congress was not invited to the alliance talks held at the residence of Mulayam Singh, Bihar chief minister called on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to plead with him to be part of the alliance to help defeat the BJP.
Both Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh emphasized that the alliance’s chief aim is to stop the BJP from adding Bihar to its kitty of states. Already, the new experiment brought dividend in bye-elections held for 10 seats – they won six. The Congress and other parties that maybe parts of the Bihar alliance have said they back projecting Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate.
Back in Patna, Nitish went on record that there is “no doubt that Congress will be part of JD (U)-RJD alliance for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.” He said three members each of RJD and JD (U) will meet for discussions on the seat distribution. Lalu was initially opposed to projection of Nitish as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, but he changed the tune, endorsing his candidature and claiming that no one from the RJD is interested to become the CM. The alliance has planned a rally on June 18 against the controversial land ordinance to test public mood. Sources said the estranged RJD leader Pappu Yadav was giving Lalu trouble. He is reminding the Yadavs, backbone of Lalu’s juggernaut, how badly they were treated during the 10-year rule of Nitish Kumar. Many in JD (U) also, say it would be difficult to sell development agenda, having an alliance with former chief minister Lalu Yadav, whose apathy towards development has been phenomenal during his tenure between 1990 and 2005.
However, this is only the beginning of secular unity move and many issues would crop up soon especially after the Bihar poll if the alliance wins it. There would be fierce competition for PM candidature. The socialist alliance cannot win enough seats to rule India even with the backing of Leftist wings. They will certainly require more non-BJP MPs. If the AAP tires to seriously consider the expansion of its pro common masses agenda across the nation with genuinely committed party wings, Socialists would do better by making a common cause of defeating all communal politics with Kejriwal’s party.
The CPI (M) which has mass base in three states but its apace is shrinking in two of them, chose to adopt wait-and-watch approach over forming alliance with Janata Parivar saying any decision to go with Janata outfits will be taken after discussing “developments” with other Left outfits. “What we have decided is that strengthening of the Left is only strengthening a force against communal forces. But now, our decision is to contest these elections along with other Left parties,” party’s new General Secretary Sitaram Yechury who hails from erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, told reporters. When queried if CPI(M) was open to the idea of tying up with Janata Parivar after JD(U) and RJD came together resolving reported differences between them, Yechury welcomed the development saying it was “very good” that the two parties came together in the fight against communal forces. The Rajya Sabha MP added that in Bihar, CPI (M) will contest the polls mainly with CPI and CPI (Marxist-Leninist), which, he said, “was decided some time ago”. Yechury also said that stronger the Left parties become, stronger will be fight against communal forces.
Communal riots orchestrated by political organizations and states for power are worst crime on Humanity, and it is a great move indeed by the Secular Parties in Bihar, from now on Nitish Kumar must be more vigilant with RSS and BJP cadre who are known and proven again and again to be instigating Communal flames across Bihar, the way they did in UP, the slightest incident must be crushed with heavy handedly by Nitish, and should stop the Communal forces to win a single seat in Bihar, like what Arvind Kejriwal did in Delhi, if possible take AAP help in making the Strategy strong and winnable.
By declaring Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate, the Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to signal unity in the ranks of the socialist parties to contest against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the crucial state assembly polls of Bihar later this year. But in the coming days the seat distribution, accommodating other allies like the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and even the Left will prove a daunting task for the anti-BJP front.
Former Indian railway minister Lalu said they would work jointly to ensure “ghar vapasi” of Modi government and BJP. He said they would serve the cause of social justice. He added he does not respect the BJP and Modi because remember and Ram for votes. It is sad US president Obama had to come to India to caution him against religion based polices in democracies.
All said and done, the emerging third front alliance is fighting elections without credible popular program but only worried about power and yet to discuss its economic program for the poor and common people. Perhaps the socialist trio must be pondering over this national scenario. They just want to win the elections to continue the policies of Congress and BJP governments.
The third front leaders are opportunists, unfortunately. By aligning with a corrupt party like Congress in order for the winning elections, they betray the people who defeated it, and they display before the nation their wickedness. They are not serious politicians.
Politics cannot succeed if the genuine concerns of common peole are not raised as poll strategy.
As their credibility under tremendous strain before entire nation, Nitish, Lalu and Mulayam should reflect on the failures of the erstwhile Janata coalition experiment, though the government was run by very senior and supposedly committed politicians. Selfishness and self-importance overtook them all.
Without credible principles and valid political philosophy, politicians can only harm the people and ruin the nation!