After being snubbed by Congress, Nitish is now leading efforts to cobble together a Third Front. He has called upon leaders of the erstwhile “Janata Party / Parivaar” to come together to take on the Congress and the BJP. Janata Party formed govt. in 1977 with Bhartiya Lok Dal and Bhartiya Jan Sangh (now BJP) as its alliance partners. People voted against Indira’s emergency measures. The govt. couldn’t last its full term due to internal conflicts and Indira came back to power in 1980.
Janata Party disintegrated into a number of smaller parties as their tall leaders fell apart due to their big egos. Janata Party became Janata Dal and Janata Dal further split into JD(A to Z). Regional satraps Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Ajit Singh (Rashtriya Lok Dal), Nitish Kumar (Janata Dal United), Naveen Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Deve Gowda (Janata Dal Secular), Lalu Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) were all part of the Janata Parivaar earlier. Some of the above like Ajit and Lalu are with Congress now.
Nitish is in talks with Mulayam and Naveen to form a grand alliance. He is also trying to rope in Left Front and AIADMK and talking of a 10 party alliance. These parties together have ~90 seats currently. While SP and JDU seats will decline, this will be made up by higher seats of Left / AIADMK. So roughly they could get same no. of seats and will depend on Congress / other parties to provide outside support. Pawar, Asom Gana Parishad etc. could also join after polls.
The Front continues to suffer from internal contradictions and shortcomings. Two big anti-Congress / anti-BJP parties Bahujan Samaj Party and Trinamool Congress won’t join the alliance at any cost. Maya since Mulayam is there and Mamata since Left is there. Plus DMK also won’t join assuming AIADMK is there. From Andhra only one of Jagan or Naidu could join at the best.
So all in all this Third Front would not pose any real threat to Congress or BJP. Jayalalitha could agree to be part of this alliance as she knows that her party would bag the highest no. of seats and in case of fractured mandate (like Delhi), Congress would chose to support her as Prime Minister to keep Modi at bay. Not easy, but a remote possibility.
The best part of this alliance if it fructifies is that every body (except for Left) wants to be PM and won’t let the other become PM. Would Nitish allow Mulayam / Gowda to be PM or vice-a-versa? Never! Nitish is behaving like a khisiani bill and wants to teach Congress / BJP a lesson.
However, this does help Congress. Congress Plan A – Aam Aadmi Party is fizzling out, so this could act as Plan B to stop BJP juggernaut. Most probably this Front will die before it is even born. Ek mayan mein itni talwarein kaise rahengi! Only time will tell.
For parties like AIADMK, BJD this is also a bit tricky situation as they are possible alliance partners of NDA / BJP post polls. If they join Third Front it will be difficult for them to leave sinking ship and jump onto to BJP ship post polls. Difficult but not impossible. Anything for power!
India doesn’t want a 1996 like situation where Deve Gowda and Gujral of Janata Dal (with only 46 seats) became PM supported by Left (44 seats), Congress (140 seats) and other parties. God save us from this Third Front full of jokers!