New Delhi: The Congress that heads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are both trying to hold on to their partners in their respective coalitions so that they do not cross over to the so called Third Front. Nervous that it could spoil their chances of coming to power, both parties are hitting out at the third front.
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Congress spokesman Maneesh Tiwari’s criticism extends to the NDA too. He says, “The NDA alliance stands completely demolished as it’s an alliance which has imploded on itself. The Third Front is a myth. Therefore in these elections, UPA is going to fight two ghosts, a ghost which has imploded and a ghost which doesn’t exist.”
In Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar of NCP, who has ambitions of becoming prime minister, is playing hardball with the Congress. He has kept his lines of communications open both with Shiv Sena and the Left parties. The party has already lost Telengana Rashtriya Samiti in Andhra Pradesh to the Third Front led by the Left parties. But for the record it continues to put up a brave front.
“Congress is not groping for allies. If we go by what has happened in the past few months, parties have been coming to us for alliance,” says Tiwari.
The situation is equally precarious for the BJP. It has lost Telugu Desam Party to the Third Front in Andhra Pradesh and its former ally in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress, is driving a hard bargain with the Congress.
“For the future I just want to say, politics is a game of immense possibilities,” says Ravishankar Prasad.
There is no clear single issue in sight for the elections. What is however clear is that the next government too will be a coalition with innumerable possibilities. And that gets a better bargaining card for the regional parties that may swing every which way. This includes Jayalalithaa of AIADMK, Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party, Mulayam Singh of Samajwadi Party and Sharad Pawar of National Conference. The game is still wide open.