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Federal Front is a recipe for instability (Issue 1)

Statesman News Service |

The Federal Front is Mamata Banerjee&’s brainchild. If it at all materialises, it will just be a conglomeration of political parties with varied outlooks, ideologies and perceptions. The Left had tried to launch a Third Front earlier without any result. This time, it is Miss Banerjee who has given the call for the formation of Federal Front to prevent the two national parties from capturing power at the Centre. Sheer opportunism is the leitmotif of Indian politics today.
If a Federal Front is formed and it can capture power, conflict of interests is bound to emerge within a brief span of time, resulting in its collapse. At this crucial juncture, India badly needs a stable government at the Centre, not a bunch of opportunistic political outfits unable to look beyond their respective regions. The regional parties do not possess an idea about how to run a nation. Hence Federal Front is not only a tired but also an absurd idea.
aranya sanyal,
19 june, siliguri
Federal Front is a non-starter in India. The so-called front can come about only when the Samajwadi party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) join the conglomerate of various regional, parochial parties and are prepared to look beyond their limited regional interests and evolve a national outlook. The Federal Front should necessarily include the Left.
The front so formed should be able to build consensus and come out with a common minimum programme. This is like asking for the moon. Assuming that this is achieved by some miracle, a prime ministerial candidate has to be put up by the Federal Front. One can safely say that this is asking for the impossible; asking leaders of political parties to agree to a common leader is next to impossible.
Parties will prefer to play up the secular or communal card to gain clout in the formation of government with the Congress or the BJP. This is what will happen. Federal front or Third front is an idea that is mooted before every parliamentary election, only to come to a naught on each occasion.
p s ponnuswami,
17 june, kolkata.
Uphill task
Bolstered by the widening rift between the BJP and the JD-U, TMC supremo, Mamata Banerjee has gone a step further to concertise her proposal to form a Federal Front with all "regional” parties, after holding talks over telephone with the Bihar and Odisha chief ministers. She also indicated that after further talks with her counterparts in Bihar and Odisha, the venue of further meetings with regional parties would be decided. The JD-U general secretary, KC Tyagi, met Miss Banerjee at Writers’ Buildings, and the latter expressed satisfaction over the progress of the talks.
There is no denying the fact that the half-baked, rather old and tired idea of floating a Federal Front of regional parties not only reflects the utter bankruptcy of its proponents, but also exposes the stark opportunism of a group of non-Congress non-BJP parties. The drama scripted by the TMC supremo and co-authored by her counterparts in Bihar and Odisha seems to be a side-show of the post-Lok Sabha poll scenario.
Besides, it is not understood as to what prompted the troika ~ Mamata, Nitish and Naveen ~ to make such a strident pitch for the formation of a Federal Front. It is also intriguing that the original advocates of a third alternative have long buried hopes of such a formation, realising it is not feasible at the moment.
In fact, the Federal Front is supposed to bring together the chief ministers of states that have grievances against the step-motherly treatment meted out by the Centre. However, an alternative front has to be built on the basis of alternative policies and a common programme ~ something that appears difficult.
arun kumar bhaduri,
17 june, kolkata.
Politics of Bankruptcy
The idea of formation of a Federal Front not only reflects the bankruptcy proponents, but also lays bare the naked opportunism and cynical manipulation of vote-bank politics by a ragtag group of non-Congress non-BJP parties.
The Front will depend on how strongly Nitish Kumar can defend his fort in Bihar. If the separation from the BJP is expected to earn him the support of Bihar&’s Muslim voters, it may also cost him part of the upper cast vote. Naveen Patnaik has, however, succeeded in retaining power and influence in Odisha after breaking his alliance with the BJP.
achyut mukherjee,
howrah, 18 june.
Open secret
Once again, a bunch of blabbermouths are rising ahead of the parliamentary election in 2014.
Andhra Pradesh’s NT Rama Rao was perhaps the pioneer of the idea of a third alternative, and Prakash Karat of the CPI-M was the last political leader who tried to cobble together such a formation the last time around.
The idea of a Federal Front is nothing but a castle in the air. What is their principal agenda?
It is an open secret that Indian politics is split into two ~ one group is the UPA and the other is the NDA, with BJP as the chief partner. It is true that no party gain absolute majority in 2014; it is unclear how either group will manage to reach the magic number 272 and who will be the supremo.
chandan banerjee,
18 june, dhakshineswar.
Effort in vain
No matter now much Mamata Banerjee makes an effort to form the Federal Front, comprising several regional parties, the outcome of the same will be devastating, for too many cooks will spoil the broth.
Regional parties have their respective political commitments; if, irrespective of this, a government is formed at the Centre with all of them in it, there is likely to be conflict of interests, which will ultimately benefit the Congress.
However, the people will not take the risk of plunging into any uncertainty and will not cast votes in favour of any ragtag group. Therefore, the idea of Federal Front has to be dropped.
arun gupta,
17 june, kolkata.
Problem of plenty
India is a federal state, but manifests as unitary in nature. In a federal structure, decentralisation is key and people wield power, right down to the grassroot level. Local and regional parties have an immense role as agencies in bringing democratic transformation of the nation as well as society.
However, in India, all regional parties focus on narrow regionalism, personal ego, religion and caste, without any ideological flexibility. They are caged within their respective areas, with support from the local population.
During the 2009 Lok Sabha election, there were four major groups if one considers the pre-poll arrangements: United Progressive Alliance comprising 12 parties and led by Congress; National Democratic Alliance comprising 8 parties and led by BJP; the Third Front comprising 12 parties and led by the CPI-M; a group comprising SP, RJD, LJP. There were also other smaller parties making up a fifth group.
Most of the parties excluding 4-5 national parties have no ideological objectives, no policy on economic development. Even within alliances, there is no single issue that binds parties; the only agenda of groups coming together is to enjoy power and prevent the rival group from coming to power.
The country’s population is divided into different fronts or groups. The increase in the number of fronts only leads to a weakening of voices inside the Parliament.
m viswajit,
19 june, kolkata.
Distant dream
If we look back at the history of Indian politics, we see that the concept of a third front has always cut a sorry figure and no solid stability has ever been observed.
As far as today&’s political scenario is concerned, the possibility of formation of a third front named ‘Federal Front’ cannot be ruled out, although there is hardly any distinct possibility of such an alliance completing a full five-year term. The SP, BSP, TMC, JD-U, TDP have expressed their interest in forming a non-Congress non-BJP government, which will take care of the regional problems of different states. But it will be interesting to watch whether the DMK and AIADMK will go along with the alliance. Besides, the Left parties will hardly find any interest in sharing seats with the Trinamul Congress. There are many other equations and it is very unlikely that a third front will be able to rule the roost.
indranil sanyal,
18 june, kolkata.
Deserves a chance
A vast chunk of people are not satisfied with the performance of the UPA government and have little faith in the NDA as well. There is every possibility that neither the NDA nor the UPA will get absolute majority, so I think Miss Mamata Banerjee has proposed, at the right moment of time, the idea of Federal Front. This Front has to be founded upon mutual agreement of the regional parties minus the Congress and the BJP.
Why is Federal Front necessary for the present day? (i) Check the limited dictatorship of BJP or Congress. People will have an option in the Federal Front. (ii) People elect MPs in the election, so it seems it is a democratic system, but if any MP or group of MPs raise any question about the select ‘coterie’ imposing its writ on every decision within the UPA or NDA, they are bound to be sidelined. Democracy then actually becomes rule by a ‘coterie’. In the case of Federal Front, this will hardly happen ~ because any one constituent of the Front will not have sufficient numbers of MPs to force others to follow its diktat.
I think we must give the idea of a Federal Front some opportunity.
alok kumar basu,
19 june, haridebpur, kolkata.
Manipulative politics
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee&’s call for a Federal Front was responded to by two of her counterparts in Bihar and Odisha. She wanted a non-BJP non-congress front at the Centre. But what is intriguing is that the original advocates of a third front have left the idea behind, realising it is not feasible just now. Clearly, it is the Modi-fication of the BJP that has entailed the frantic rush of revitalising the mummy of a third alternative.
It is a known fact that all these parties have at one time or the other been BJP allies. Their association with the BJP has been both an asset and a liability for them. They enjoyed power and the resultant benefits as part of the ruling NDA at the Centre. But at the same time, they had to let the stigma of being partners of the ‘communal’ Hindutva party stick to them.
People are now disillusioned with the idea of floating a Federal Front. It not only highlights the bankruptcy of its proponents, but also exposes the naked opportunism and cynical manipulation of vote-bank politics by non-Congress and non-BJP parties. Undoubtedly, the Federal Front is a tired and stale idea.
narayan chandra ghosh,
19 june, nadia.