With assembly elections in five states inching closer, political parties seem to be pulling up their socks for the next Lok Sabha polls as well. The game of allegations and counter-allegations, claims and promises are gaining momentum day by day. Moving beyond these, few leaders are not even shying off from indulging in mud-slinging. They not only try to prove their political rivals incompetent but also project themselves as the biggest well-wishers of the people. There is no iota of doubt over the fact that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the center figure of the current national politics. Modi is influencing the national political arena in a never-seen-before manner. All non-BJP parties including the Congress are scared of Modi wave. They are grabbing every single opportunity to criticize the Gujarat CM. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi invokes Narendra Modi during his rallies in some way or other. Apart from highlighting the achievements of UPA government, especially on employment, education and food-security, the Gandhi-scion throws light on the failures of Chief Ministers of non-Congress ruled states and cites illustrations of the ‘sacrifices’ made by his family to touch an emotional chord. On the other hand, other leaders of Congress are busy in proving that why Narendra Modi is not worthy of holding the office of Prime Minister.

As a star campaigner for BJP, Narendra Modi is highlighting the failures of Congress and is also hitting out hardly at corruption and dynasty politics. Modi is presenting himself as a strong leader. Some regional parties are advocating for third front in this direct fight between Congress and BJP. The anti-communalism meet held in the national capital is being considered as a step towards formation of third front. It’s indeed strange that the meet, which was organized by Left parties targeted Modi as well as BJP, but at the same time exercised caution against uttering a word against Congress. Though some regional parties are talking about third front, they are neither prepared for the pre-poll alliance, nor ready to make anything clear over leadership. Their sole objective is to achieve magic number after general elections. Indulging in such politics is like deceiving the people. It’s completely futile to even expect that such opportunistic politics would be beneficial for the nation. Our democracy provides no rules or regulations for coalition politics. No political parties are ready to frame laws for coalition politics so that they can indulge in monopolistic politics. In absence of effective norms, coalition politics has become a synonym of immoral and unethical practices. There is nothing wrong in political parties seeking assistance from each other, but to mislead people in the name of alliances and tie-ups is completely unjustifiable. If two parties field their candidates against each other in elections, eventually join hands, it would be nothing but a brutal murder of people’s mandate. People want to see a clear picture of the prospective government but talks of third front make everything hazy.

The talks of third front are nothing new in Indian politics. It has been noticed for the last one and half decade that the regional parties start speaking about the possible emergence of third or fourth front just before elections. However, such front makes no clear picture either on their objectives or leadership. In fact, the way talks of third front have gained momentum remind those days, when people used to talk about the ‘unity’ amongst non-Congress parties. In the past, a few parties have been successful as well in forming their own government at the Centre and it’s pertinent to mention that there have been times when the Congress extended its support to these parties for its own advantage. Charan Singh, Chandrashekhar, HD Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral are examples of such government.

Post-independence, it’s Congress, who has been in power at the Centre most of the times. People realized nothing new during the non-Congress regime except NDA government which provided comparatively better governance during its six-year tenure from 1998-2004. However, being a coalition government, it has its own limitations which could be the reason behind not living up to expectations of the people in 2004. Not only for political stability but for nation’s development as well, the political framework should strengthen. This would be possible only when Indian politics will become bipolar. In countries, where democracy is considered matured enough, bipolar political system is in existence. This can be possible through either two parties or two coalitions. The arguments, which are placed in favour of regional parties, can’t be ignored as well but it should be made mandatory for them to work under a national party. The coalition government needs to be run under certain rules and regulations. However, it’s in the legislature’s domain to frame such rules. If it does nothing, then either Election Commission or Judiciary will have to interfere with it.
All talks and discussions over bringing reforms in nation’s political structure remain confined to the academicians. The issue has never been raised seriously in Parliament. Those, who are talking about third front, should take a serious note of the fact that even the BJP-led ‘second front’ has not taken shape. It’s clear that those who are talking about third front are showing soft corner towards Congress and it can be easily seen in the anti-communal meet called by Left parties. Those, who are taking part in these meets, are giving clear indications of moving along with Congress. Their claims to provide alternative to Congress and BJP at the centre bear no significance. Politics of such nature will waste nation’s precious time. Terming the BJP as ‘untouchable’, such leaders are advocating for third front. Several parties are branding BJP ‘communal’, though their own secular credentials are at stake.  It’s not a hidden fact that ‘half-baked’ and self-created definition of communalism has given rise to the ‘practice’ of minority appeasement. No party should be considered ‘untouchable’ simply because it does not accept the traditional definition of secularism. Our political leaders boast of secularism but at the same time, they leave no stone unturned in inciting people in the name of religion to gain electoral mileage. Those parties, which are extending their hands towards Congress in the name of secularism to keep BJP at bay, should ponder over the fact that they are indirectly supporting Congress and exposing themselves.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on November 3, 2013 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)