World's largest democracy is headed towards yet another scintillating electoral battle this summer. The 16th Lok Sabha Election holds a promise to be a battle royale between different ideologies at work and compete each other to gain the power of the world's 7th largest nation.
The victory of Aam Admi Party in Delhi Assembly election defeating the well entrenched Congress rule represent the changing mood of Indian electorate.
Message is outright and simple: they want change from Sangh politics of BJP & neo-socialism of Congress that has paralysed the economy. Both proved to have some disastrous unintended consequences on socio-economic space of the Indian society.
One more interesting development just before the General elections is the formation of the 'Third Front', comprising 11 influential regional parties. This non-BJP non-Congress alternative to the Indian voters, promises to stand erect on the principles of secularism and anti-corruption.
History of 'Third Front' in Indian Politics
As the history speaks for itself, the only effective Third front ever came to power was in 1977, headed by the Janta Dal Government that too against the draconian National Emergency announced by Indira Gandhi.
Clearly the front was not a choice but a necessity to ward off a crisis throughout the country resulting in gross violation of people's fundamental rights.
Again the third front came into picture in 1989-90 elections, when the National Front (Rashtriya Morcha) led by Janta Dal Govt & headed by V.P. Singh as PM ruled the country but fell down within less than 2 years time.
The year 1996-98 again witnessed the bloc formation, United Front, and the subsequent third front governments, headed by H.D.D Gowda & I.K. Gujral. They too couldn't stand on their grounds firmly.
The reasons for their succumbing could better be explained by lack of vision and effective leadership.
This might as well be the case with the newly formed 11-party Third front as well. Decision on who will lead the front as its Prime Ministerial candidate is yet to be taken. The nature of the front largely looks to be of opportunistic nature.
This Third front, like earlier, wants to cash on the present mood of the voters who want to avoid both the BJP and the Congress.
Elections are a number game and numbers are in favor of these two fronts the BJP and the Cong with two-third of the states having its governments.
Also the 11-party bloc, even if it comes to power, would need outside support of other regional parties to hold the top seat as each party has 10-20 seats in Parliament. In absence of the outside party support, it will definitely fall short of the mark of 272.
The BJP needs to outshine its 1998 electoral performance of 182 seats in order to have any chance of government formation at the centre.
Situation looks grim for Congress as evident in the recent State Assembly election. The task would be very challenging for AAP, as the party is yet to prove its political mantle and vision for other problems.
In such case the possibility of 'Third Front' forming the government cannot be ruled out. However it would be premature to predict anything right now.
In case if it scraps through, the challenges would be immense for the Third front on various fronts. This includes economic development, backward classes empowerment, women security, anti-graft & governance and many other such issues.
At the moment all 38 political parties represented in the Indian parliament will play a crucial role in deciding the fate of soon-to-be formed government. The fact that the odds are in favour and against each one of them will keep our fingers crossed.