K Chandrasekhar Rao's pitch for third front may be stymied by lack of cohesive leadership, concrete agenda
TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao has called for a ‘third front’ comprising of non-Congress and non-BJP parties. Several parties like the TMC, JMM, MIM and RJD expressed their support to the idea. Though there is always a space for an alternative to the Congress and BJP, the third front is beset with several problems like the lack of a cohesive leadership and concrete agenda, and the vacillating character of these regional parties. Meanwhile, sceptics see a political strategy in KCR's newfound enthusiasm to rally non-Congress, non-BJP parties, given the fact that he has been avidly supporting the Modi dispensation all these years.
Since the 1990s, the Congress and BJP accounted for only about half of the Indian political space, with non-Congress, non-BJP parties accounting for the other half. In 2009, the Congress fared well, while the BJP performed well in 2014, suggesting a revival of national parties. Yet, regional and smaller parties still hold sway in large parts of India. The so-called national parties resort to piggy-back politics and remain as junior partners to their regional allies in many states. For instance, BJP is a junior partner to its respective allies in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Bihar, Jammu Kashmir, etc. The Congress is a junior partner to its respective regional allies in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh etc. Similarly, both the Congress and the BJP can only be junior partners in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal etc. Thus, a political space certainly exists for a non-Congress, non-BJP front in Indian politics.