New Delhi, March 20: The country is witnessing interesting times, politically. All the political parties are taking calculated steps keeping in mind the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections. If on the one hand, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is losing its "friends" every day, on the other, the opposition parties are coming closer to form an alliance, which many are calling as the "Third Front".
After the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre recently over the issue of grant of special status category to Andhra Pradesh and the saffron party had to bear the brunt of humiliating defeat in the three Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the regional parties have taken the centre stage.
There are clear political indications that the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will form an alliance to fight the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 after their combination succeeded in winning the prestigious Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls recently in Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, 20 opposition parties came together at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in the national capital a few days ago.
The dinner politics by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson has been billed as the first concrete attempt to forge an anti-BJP alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The opposition parties' attempts to forge an alliance kick-started after the BJP's massive win in the Tripura elections. The BJP also managed to form governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland after the elections recently. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao came up with the idea of a national political formation without the BJP and the Congress. He immediately got support from his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and a few others, including Hyderabad lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi.
On Monday, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief KCR met Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Banerjee in Kolkata. The meeting between the regional satraps holds great political meaning, say experts. The very fact that KCR took a private flight to flew to Kolkata to meet his Bengal counterpart created political ripples.
After the meeting, both the CMs pitched for a non-BJP, non-Congress "federal front" to counter the political powerhouses ahead of the 2019 general elections. If the news is bad for the BJP, the Congress too is finding itself alienated every day in spite of its leaders repeated claims that the opposition unity is possible only under the party's guidance.
The BJP too is in a denial mode that the coming together of the opposition parties could be a reality soon. On Monday, the BJP stated that "there is nothing such as the Third Front".
"KCR's visit to Kolkata is not a government visit. It is for a national front, which he is planning. But it does not have a backing. We understand your (KCR) plot. You (KCR) want to increase your stature by utilising public money by advertising all over the country," Krishna Sagar Rao of the BJP was quoted as saying by ANI.
"You (KCR) fly to West Bengal and get Mamata Banerjee to recommend for your association with the UPA. In the national front, there is nothing such as the Third Front with KCR, because no one trusts him," Rao added.
Earlier also the BJP has rejected the idea of any "Third Front". Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in New Delhi recently that the "illusory and elusive concept of the Third Front" is not a new idea. He added the Indian polity has changed much beyond "the murky waters of the Third Front".