Mulayam's new front will ultimately require Cong's support

By: Shubham Ghosh
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Back home, SP leader Mulayam Singh's call for a meeting of the non-Congress and non-BJP leaders shows that his brand of non-alignment is not a spent idea. While the two principal parties continue to create ruckus in the Parliament, the seasoned Netaji has been observing things from the rear and would waste no time to take the plunge. He already invited the Telugu Desam and Left leaders on his side, indicating at a probable third front to take shape ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

Mulayam's calculated move

Mulayam has made his moves in a calculated manner. He is not in a hurry to dump the Congress for both the SP and Congress need each other for mutual benefit. By dumping Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam proved he was a great friend of Congress prior to the presidential elections this year and his state was soon given the favour back in terms of a whopping financial package.


He was the man who had also backed the UPA-I government after the Left's historic pull-out in 2008. Mulayam needs Congress all the more for putting up a good show in the elections for the SP's vote share in the UP assembly polls was not absolutely assuring even though it pulled off a great victory.

Mulayam's annoyance with Congress

Mulayam has had his reasons of anguish against the Congress as well. The Congress-led government allegedly did not work towards reducing charges of corruption against him while of late, he found the former tilting more in favour of arch-rival Mayawati on the issue of promotions of Dalits and scheduled tribes at various levels. Besides, Mulayam would also want an early election so that the anti-incumbency factor against his party's government in UP can be negated to a big extent.

Tough challenge for Netaji, will it work?

Mulayam's task won't be easy for sure. Both the TDP and Left are currently seeing a lean phase and are not in a position to effect a Third Front straightaway. Forming a Third Front would require support of the three women leaders, namely, Mayawati, Mamata and Jayalalithaa. Mayawati is a straight "no" while Mamata would think twice before joining Mulayam's bandwagon after the way he had treated her in June. Moreover, presence of the Left in Mulayam's new force would excite Mamata little. With Jayalalithaa, things can never be certain and Mulayam can't afford to rest solely on the AIADMK chief if he aspires to grow the Third Front into a potent force. Jayalalithaa, at the moment, sides with the NDA on the coal scam.

Mulayam's only chance to become the PM is by banking on the Congress support. He can not accept the BJP's favour to keep up his secular image. The Third Front by itself can not garner a majority and it could ultimately see a rerun of the history if a non-Congress, non-BJP government eventually takes shape under the leadership of Netaji. But how long will it survive?

But just like the international non-alignment movement which stands under the shadow of the US and the rest, the national version of such movement will struggle to drift away from the Congress, with which it aims to part ways. The irony of politics lies there.

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