Posts Tagged ‘Third front’

When I was a kid, I remember, I wasn’t particularly great at cricket (or so I think now). But at that time, I thought, I was pure genius. I knew the right technique (read it in a book), I understood English commentary (unlike some of my friends) and most important of all, I had a bat. Now, the first two traits may not be sufficient to make me the most valuable player in my team but the third one ensured, no game started without me.

I’m thinking, that’s what used to happen with Bardhan, Deve Gowda and Mayawati as well. But wait a minute, aren’t these people pro-socialism/communism (whatever those heavy terms mean). Thus it follows that these people would hate the game of cricket since it involves a lot of money and they instead love Kabaddi. So I’m wondering, where did they actually learn this trick – the Bat-trick! coz. that’s the only way to describe the formation of the Third Front.

Let’s take a look at the numbers of the 2004 general election results:

Out of a total of 545 possible seats in the Lok Sabha, any party who wishes to form a government should atleast attain a simple majority (51%) ie. around 278 seats. In the 2004 general elections, 543 seats were contested and the top three parties were as under:

1. Congress was the single largest party with 145 seats;
2. BJP came in a close second with 138 seats; and
3. The next largest party was CPI(M) with only 43 seats.

The difference between the second and third largest party is huge. But the CPI(M) and a few other parties together called the Left, flaunted the secular badge and the Congress along with its allies came to power under the banner UPA.

The left, now disillusioned with the UPA withdrew support and on 22nd July, again the UPA proved its vote of confidence with a good margin even without the Left. The savior was the Samajwadi Party with 36 seats.

The left, at times I feel, follow an ideology of disillusionment. They are always disillusioned with everything after a point of time, be it the rising sensex, growing industrialization, or their political alliances. They are like the typical husbands – love their girlfriends before marriage but after a few years, start cribbing about everything that’s wrong with their wives. (Typical wives would also be appropriate but I guess, a lot of women read my blog so… Ahem!)

So the Left, now divorced from the UPA found a prospective suitor when Deve Gowda floated the idea of the Third Front. Of course, they were the third largest party. So with much fan fare, the third front has been formed. But if we look at the numbers, the third front paints a sorry picture. Remember, the magic figure is 51% of 545 ie. around 278.

Numbers of 2004 General Elections:
Janta Dal Secular – 3
CPI – 10
CPI (M) – 43
Forward Bloc – 3
Republican Party of India – 0
Revolutionary Socialist Party – 3
Telugu Desam Party – 5
Telangana Rashtra Samithi – 5
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – 19

Total – 91

What would you say, if I told you that the leader of BSP with just 19 seats in the Lok Sabha dreams of becoming the next Prime Minister? I’d say she’s weak at maths.

Another sorry fact: In the 2004 general elections, BSP contested the highest number of seats – a total of 435 seats (even more than the Congress who contested for 400 seats) of which it won only 19 and its deposit was forfeited in 358 seats. It got only 5% of the total votes polled in the country.

Agreed, things have changed since 2004. In the 2007 state elections, Mayawati lead BSP came to power in Uttar Pradesh becoming the first single majority party since 1991 and the fact that Uttar Pradesh sends the highest number of MPs (80) to the Lok Sabha might have made Mayawati very buoyant.

But practically, the third front has no chance of forming the government without the support of the Congress or its major allies.

Even a grand performance by the parties of the left front in this general election, say a positive swing of almost 50%, would leave them with only around 150 seats. Far from the magic figure.

And remember, this is a front combined of almost 10 smaller parties. You never know, which party doesn’t get paid on time and you could have a vote of no confidence.

If the third front does manage to come to power with the support of the Congress, it will be a notable feat, similar to the one below:

And not to forget Sonia Gandhi’s mood swings. Deve Gowda remained in power for 11 months with support from the Congress before Sonia decided she was bored of him. Just imagine, what if the motorcycles in the picture above started racing with each other?

So if the parties of the third front do not support the Congress, I guess, we are in for a short term government coz. I don’t really see the NDA or the UPA getting to the magic figure alone. A short term government it will be then, after all how long can the fragile pyramid last. Be prepared for another General Election next year, unless of course, you the voter understand this bat-trick and vote for the party who can provide a stable government. The third front certainly cannot.

I may have believed that by virtue of my bat, I was valuable enough to stall the game, but I never was stupid enough to think, I could be the captain.


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