Federal Front: Too many ambitious leaders in the fray


Mamata Banerjee (second from left) with Arvind Kejriwal (to her left) (Picture Courtesy: The Indian Express)

Politicians never change. You bet and they wait for opportunities to make headlines. The demonetisation scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a shot in the arm to opposition leaders to get back into the limelight. And there is no dearth of zeal: Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Lalu Prasad and the list is endless.

These leaders left in the lurch have Modi to thank. All of a sudden these leaders are in the news. Mamatadi, laps it up to exhibit her sympathy for the common people. And she has in company another emotional politician in the Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal whose one-point agenda has been to attack Modi.

Amidst all this chaos, if one thought the Federal Front as envisaged by Nitish Kumar and Banerjee were a possibility, then it was time to rethink. Just look at the equations. The West Bengal CM, is so desperate to make an impact nationally that she is even ready to join hands with her biggest foe, The Left, to put Modi and company on the back foot. Yet, on Monday, November 28, the parties that joined her on the march to the Rashtrapati Bhaban recently, had different ways to protest against the NDA government.

Now, the confusion doesn’t stop here. Nitish Kumar, who once harboured his Prime Ministerial ambitions riding on the prohibition plank has actually praised Modi on demonetisation. Now, is it because he has read the writings on the wall? Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar forged an alliance at a time when they both saw the advent of communal forces (BJP) as a danger. But even a novice would know that the two foes-turned-friends have too many differences.

For Nitish, who walked out on NDA after Modi was promoted as the Prime Ministerial candidate before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls seems to have calmed down. Perhaps, the imminent threat to his government from Lalu & Company has made him see ‘sense.’ And hence the support to Modi.

Now, our very own Didi has too many scores to settle. The Ram Lila Maidan fiasco with Anna Hazare hasn’t taught her any lesson, and she is swayed by ambitions to gain ground nationally. Well, does she trust Kejriwal? How desperate can she get by offering hands of friendship to the Left Front? And talk of Congress, it is the party that joined hands with the Left before the 2016 Assembly Elections in Bengal. Didi wants Congress too in her fight against Modi. What exactly is her motive?

The confusion called the Federal Front is still a remote possibility because of too many ambitious leaders trying to project themselves as the FACE of the front. To make matters worse, Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party has supported Modi and his battle against corruption. Now, what would Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s reactions be? A party that is busy fighting internal feud has been caught on the wrong foot thanks to Amar Singh’s statement.

Kejriwal talks and talks and never stops. One controversy after another and he is still determined to fight corruption. Rahul Gandhi like Kejriwal has this animosity towards the PM and his speeches one after another reflect that. Now, let’s envisage a situation where a Federal Front is set up. Will Congress cut off ties with the Left in West Bengal to appease Didi? Will Mulayam and Mayawati forget the bitter past and jump into the fray? Will DMK and AIADMK kiss and make up? Will Lalu withdraw support to the Nitish government?

Even if these combinations are a possibility, who will lead the Front? And there lies the catch. Politics of convenience is what would drive the so-called propagators of the Front. In the process, NDA or BJP will score brownie points over its rivals because there is no clear-cut agenda that the anti-BJP unit has.

The forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in 2017 will be the litmus test for some of the members of the front. Modi is busy launching a scathing attack on his opponents for opposing demonetisation. On the contrary, his enemies are finding it tough to put up a United Front.

The history of a Third Front has been chequered. With too many PM candidates looking at the 7, Race Course Road or the renamed Lok Kranti Marg (the official residence of the Prime Minister), unity among the major players has faced the heat. In the process, their rivals have had an edge.

In the current context, it’s Game 1 to Modi. How, the front-runners of the anti-Modi camp bounce back will be a major point of discussion in the political circuit.


About digantaguha

To introduce myself, I am a journalist, blogger and have also taught Political and Sports Journalism in the Future Media School in Kolkata. I am currently working with Sports News Crunch as a Consulting Editor and as a Guest Faculty at the Techno India University. Over all, I have around 15 years of experience as a journalist having worked with esteemed publications like Hindustan Times, Business Standard, The Pioneer and others. You can contact me at diganta2211@gmail.com. Diganta Guha
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