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​OPINION | BJP's Victories May Push Others to Form a National-level Mahagathbandhan

With the major jolt that the CPI(M) has faced in Tripura, a close eye needs to be kept on where the Left Front will lean – a Congress-led Mahagathbandhan or exist like an alternate Third Front. For now, the NDA remains intact but no one can predict the future.

Badri Narayan |

Updated:March 9, 2018, 8:13 AM IST
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​OPINION | BJP's Victories May Push Others to Form a National-level Mahagathbandhan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP leaders Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Vijay Goel and other cabinet ministers pose for a photograph at the Parliament during the second phase of the budget session, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)
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The BJP’s continued victories all over the country has threatened other parties, resulting in their alignment, realignment and regrouping.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has led the charge for the formation of a Third Front. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has held talks with KCR, while Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is keeping a keen eye on the developments.

The Shiv Sena and TDP have also voiced their apprehensions against the BJP from time-to-time. On the other hand, various forms of Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) are emerging in the Hindi belt.

In Bihar, the grand alliance is already functioning under the leadership of Lalu Prasad Yadav, in Uttar Pradesh, there are indications of one forming. The Bahujan Samaj Party, a few days back, declared its support to the Samajwadi Party candidates contesting in the Phoolpur and Gorakhpur bypolls.

The two arch rivals of UP are coming together after nearly 25 years. The animosity between both parties begins at the very top, on a personal level, and has seeped on to the grassroots cadre. Recently, though, BSP supremo Mayawati announced her strategic pact with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. The Dalit leader, in the press conference announcing her decision, clearly indicated that she expected a give-and-take relationship.

One can visualise this temporary pact growing into a larger alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Currently, though, the pact has been announced for a limited time and purpose. The pact serves two motives — One, winning the Phulpur and Gorakhpur byelections. Second, BSP aspires to garner support for a Rajya Sabha seat, while SP wants to mobilise support for the MLC elections.

If this alliance were to work well, it might encourage other regional parties and groups to come together and form a Mahagathbandhan. In Bihar, NDA partner and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi decided to join the RJD-Congress alliance and in UP, the Rashtriya Lok Dal announced its support to the SP-BSP pact.

Other small NDA partners are also showing their annoyance against the ruling party. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, has from time-to-time voiced their displeasure and so has the Apna Dal.

The mahagathbandhan, if it comes together at a national level, may have the Congress Party as its nucleus. The pyramidal structure, formed to take on the BJP in 2019, may give an interesting twist to the Hindi belt politics.

The skeletal structure is already there — the RJD is in alliance with Congress in Bihar and the SP, in Uttar Pradesh, fought the state assembly elections in 2018 with the Grand Old Party.

Rahul Gandhi has also talked about the respect he carries for BSP founder Kanshi Ram. In states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, the Mahagathbandhan may come together under the Congress’ leadership, states where the BSP also has a presence.

With the major jolt that the CPI(M) has faced in Tripura, a close eye needs to be kept on where the Left Front will lean – a Congress-led Mahagathbandhan or exist like an alternate Third Front. For now, the NDA remains intact but no one can predict the future.

​(Badri Narayan is a Social Scientist at GB Pant Social Science Institute in Allahabad. Views are personal.)

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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