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Congress Fears BJP Promoting 'Third Fronts' to Divide Opposition Votes Ahead of 2019

Regional parties are leaderless, sharply divided and unsure of transferring of votes against the BJP at time when PM Modi will play all tricks in the book to ensure division among opponents. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had earlier tried to unite the anti-BJP parties but the Congress made it clear that this is the prerogative of Mrs Sonia Gandhi heading the defunct United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Venkatesh Kesari |

Updated:March 6, 2018, 9:16 AM IST
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Congress Fears BJP Promoting 'Third Fronts' to Divide Opposition Votes Ahead of 2019
Mamata Banerjee agreed with KCR that there is a necessity for “qualitative change in the country’s politics”. (File photos)
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New Delhi: The BJP’s dramatic inroads in the North-East taking its tally to 21 states has stirred national politics with the Lok Sabha polls just a year away.

It would have been a surprise if the BJP victory in the Tripura Assembly polls would not have set the cat among the pigeons. Naturally, the BJP win under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the organisational preparedness of Amit Shah, appears to be working as a catalyst for the disparate opposition to come together, directly and indirectly.

It is resulting in more than baby steps by the opposition in the battle against the BJP, which has become dominant and now projecting itself as invincible.

Battle lines are being drawn between the BJP and the regional parties following the historic verdict in the North-East.

The immediate fallout has been in Uttar Pradesh where it has compelled arch-rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to come closer in the two crucial Lok Sabha bypolls of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, scheduled next week.

The call of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) supremo and chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao for coming together of non-BJP and non-Congress parties in the backdrop of the saffron surge is significant.

Regional parties have started facing the heat of the BJP whose juggernaut to capture India has cautioned even its current allies Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal and Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (U).

Although the Shiv Sena has announced that it will go solo in the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls next year, the Akalis are yet to reveal their cards while the JD(U) has closed all its options after re-allying with the BJP.

The BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Goa, has made the regional parties restive, especially in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where they are in power.

The BJP is expected to be more aggressive and target Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, K Chandrashekar Rao, Arvind Kejriwal, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav and it will work on a strategy for the TDP and the DMK in the coming months.

This is because the regional parties in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra are the main hurdles for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in getting a second term.

The Congress which has yet to decide its role at the national level in the fight against the BJP is expected to concentrate on Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Karnataka ,Gujarat and Maharashtra.

According to a Congress strategist, the BJP would promote, aid some regional parties, groups to ensure division of votes. “You will see emergence of many ‘third fronts’ in the coming months... watch the Janata Dal (S), the YSR Congress Party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, the Indian National Lok Dal, Kamal Haasan’s party,” he said.

Regional parties are leaderless, sharply divided and unsure of transferring of votes against the BJP at time when PM Modi will play all tricks in the book to ensure division among opponents. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had earlier tried to unite the anti-BJP parties but the Congress made it clear that this is the prerogative of Mrs Sonia Gandhi heading the defunct United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

While the BJD, the TDP, the TRS and the AAP cannot work under the Congress, the West Bengal Congress is refusing to accept the Trinamool Congress as its senior ally. On the other hand, the Congress has a limited role in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

The AICC plenary scheduled in Delhi next week is expected to unveil a strategy on how the Congress planned to go ahead to bring together like-minded parties to face the saffron challenge. The BJP’s latest victories have sent the message to the grand old party that the road ahead is long and treacherous and nothing could be achieved if it failed to keep its house in order.

A person who will bring Trinamool-Left, TDP-TRS, Congress-AAP on board and ensure unity of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP can stop the Modi juggernaut. But who that person will be is a million dollar question right now.​

(The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal)
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