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Akhilesh-Mamta’s bet after KCR, will opposition unite against BJP

New Delhi: Before the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2024, the serious effort of opposition unity was about to begin that a deep contradiction came to the fore. Instead of opposition unity, there was talk of forming a third front of non-Congress, non-BJP parties. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav met West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata and spoke publicly about this front. On the other hand, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is already talking about such a front. These leaders have said many times in the public forum in the past that they will form a new front, in which Congress will have no place. On the other hand, the Congress supported the initiative of opposition unity but flatly ruled out the possibility of a Third Front.

In these circumstances, once again the biggest question is arising that whether this initiative of opposition unity will be successful? Can all regional parties agree to this view? The question arose because in the meantime the fact came to the fore that a section of regional parties did not agree to the initiative of any opposition front without the Congress. Leaders like Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, MK Stalin, Sharad Pawar have said many times that no front is possible without Congress. The most active for the Third Front have been Mamta Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and KCR. He has also been getting indirect support from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. KCR has also met leaders of several parties in this regard.

Questions are being raised on the seriousness of Congress

These leaders allege that the Congress is not serious about opposition unity. He is also a victim of over-ambition. These parties suggest the Congress to take on the BJP in those states where there is a direct fight between the two. They argue that out of about 225 such seats in 2014 and 2019, the BJP was able to win over 200 seats. In such a situation, if the Congress focuses on these seats, then there will be more profit. They say that if the win-loss ratio remains the same on these seats where there is a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress, then there will be no much benefit of the opposition parties coming together. They cannot stop BJP.

The Congress has been rejecting the Third Front, but a section of the party agrees that the initiative towards opposition unity has not been taken as seriously as it should have been. This is the reason why supporters of the Congress-led front like Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar have also shown concern over the slowness of the Congress.

Congress has been considering itself as the leader of the opposition parties from the beginning. He says that no initiative of opposition unity can be taken forward without him. It has been ruling out the possibility of a third front from the beginning. She wants to keep the key of leadership in her hands even in opposition unity. That is why it keeps itself away from any serious initiative of Third Front. The Congress’s assessment is that the more effective the Third Front is, the less its own relevance will be. In many states, regional parties have already sidelined the Congress. That is why the party is not ready to share the opposition space anymore.

In such a situation, it is natural that the latest initiative of opposition unity is also being described as an attempt to increase the pressure on the Congress. However, experts believe that in which direction this initiative will move further, it is too early to say anything about it. Assembly elections are due in states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh this year, where the main contest is between the Congress and the BJP. The election results of these states will determine the bargaining power of the Congress. This capability of the Congress will decide whether the third front of the opposition will be formed or there will be only one front.

Third Front is not a new desire

The formation of third front by non-Congress, non-BJP parties is not a new thing. In the nineties, these parties became the political pivot and then formed the government at the center, but after 2014 the situation has changed. The country witnessed a coalition government with absolute majority of BJP at the Centre. Therefore, there cannot be a comparison between then and now. This is KCR’s first attempt towards forming a third front. He has tried this before the 2019 general elections. He had also fixed the formula for the post of Deputy PM for himself in this front. Before the general elections, he had also toured different states in the direction of forming a federal front. Then the matter could not proceed beyond talks.

At the same time, the priority of regional parties is not just political victory or defeating BJP. They also have to save their political land. They know that if an opposition front is formed under the leadership of Congress, they will have to give up their political land somewhere. Most of the regional parties that exist today have flourished only at the cost of the weakening of the Congress. In such a situation, they prefer to see Congress in a limited role. That’s why the option of Third Front seems natural to them.

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