Congress, BJP dub Third Front as mirage, myth

New Delhi: The Congress and the BJP have dismissed emergence of Third Front ahead of the 2014 general elections as a `mirage` despite Mulayam Singh Yadav leading a six-party dharna in Parliament on the coal allocation issue.

In fact, leaders of both the Congress and the BJP say the possibility of formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP front to takeover power at the Centre is not only dim but also non-existent.

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh, however, feels that the prospects of such a front were "good". At the same time, he insists that much needs to be done in this direction as fronts do not take shape overnight.

His remarks came after SP chief Yadav staged a dharna at the main entrance of Parliament building on Friday along with leaders from CPI, CPI-M, RSP, Forward Bloc and TDP.

But Manish Tewari of the Congress is on a different wavelength. "The Third Front is the most enduring mirage in Indian politics," he says bluntly.

Echoing him, BJP`s Prakash Javadekar dubs the idea of the Third Front "as a myth and an illusion".

D P Tripathi of the NCP feels that too much should not be read into Mulayam opening a new front against the government by joining hands with Left parties and TDP to demand a judicial probe into allocation of coal blocks and cancellation of licenses.

JD-U`s Shivanand Tiwari also sees no scope for a Third Front and feels the exercise done by Mulayam in association with the Left parties as essentially a move to "blunt the edge" of the NDA protest on CAG report on coal. .

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta has already said that the six parties have united to fight corruption and the efforts to destroy Parliamentary democracy. "This will not only be in Parliament but outside also. This is the beginning of a new day and era," he had said.

His party colleague D Raja puts the issue cautiously, noting that the dharna was "coming together for a limited purpose and you cannot call it a front". In fact, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M has also been downplaying the development saying that "only time will tell what will happen in the future".

Manish Tewari says even some of the most vociferous proponents of the Third Front or a third way in politics candidly concede that the idea is the most enduring mirage of Indian politics.

Javadekar says the science and art of alliance politics shows that a tie up happens between those parties which are compatible and which can help each other. "How can an alliance be possible when the Samajwadi Party cannot help TDP in Andhra Pradesh and Chandra Babu Naidu`s party cannot reciprocate in Uttar Pradesh?"

The last non-Congress, non-BJP front government at the Centre was that of the erstwhile United Front which saw two Prime Ministers H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral in less than two years. The government was then supported by the Congress from outside and its end came when the party withdrew support.

Mulayam and the Left parties had formed the People`s Front over 10 years back but the idea had remained short-lived as the SP chief had suddenly abandoned the anti-communal platform to back the NDA in the Presidential elections when A P J Abdul Kalam was put up as the candidate.

JD-U`s Tiwari, whose party is a key constituent of the NDA, was emphatic that the next government would be decided by the fronts led by the BJP and the Congress and there is "no scope for a Third Front".