The Third Front an Affront?

The election euphoria is heating up. Almost all ordinary news becomes sensational during these days and the people of India are treated with more masala than the news per se. The buzz word for the past one week is the “Third Front”. This front has nothing to do with ideologies but with opportunities. This is a cluster of small regional parties who over estimate their value and has no national image. However, they are pretty good at their regional levels.

With the two major national parties Congress and BJP failing to act authoritatively while negotiating seat sharing with regional parties, India is turning more federal which is not a healthy sign. It is an irony that these two major parties put together do not represent half of the House. This number is not likely to increase as these two parties are not given more seats to contest by their small partners.

The rest of the house is represented by regional parties who do not know what is meant by national ideology. They represent their respective regions and are not willing to come out of it. Ironically, these two national parties count on such regional parties, courtesy, the identity these parties possess in their respective regions.

The debates in Parliament are long forgotten matter. One finds the house disrupted more than it discussed. Bills are not allowed to read let alone debating on it. The previous regime had the dubious record of having the least hours worked in a single tenure. This is the result of lack of accountability. With weaker center, one can’t even think of it. Under such circumstances, where the time for debates is limited, one cannot expect unrecognized parties gets more representation in the debates. Hence, electing an independent has no meaning.

Worst case would be, these smaller parties clubbing together (with an outside support from the communist parties for whom China is their motherland) forming a Government at the Center. The media adds fuel to such fire by projecting Mayawati as the future PM. The only qualification she has is she hails from Dalit Caste. Hailing from a caste that was considered once untouchable cannot become a sole criterion to become a Prime Minister of our country. This seat deserves much more capabilities and merits.

One should not get surprised if any of these two national parties support Mayawati to become a PM just to get an acknowledgement from the media and society for supporting the cause of social-justice. India need not have to prove its stand on social-justice to anyone else and we all knew who we are. India needs something more than that at present.

With economy under severe crisis, had it been in any other country, slew of debates would be happening but here in India nothing of that sort is happening. None of the parties rake this issue nor do they have a road-map to stabilize this situation. India is one of the most difficult countries in the world to do business in. After Narasimha Rao opened the flood gates in 1991, all his successors followed him in continuing the reforms. Even the communists who ideologically opposed it had no other option but to support it. These reforms have its advantages and its limitations.

We need a government who can act stern and implement harsh economic policies that may not sound popular. We can’t provide job security any longer at the cost of performance. Government employees should realize now that they either perform or perish! The government formed by smaller parties with the support from Communists would never allow this to happen. This will, in turn, throw spokes on the wheel of our country’s progress!

The issues of internal security, Kashmir, Cross-border terrorism, Economics, development, etc., do not occupy the agenda during the elections any longer. All it matters is regionalism, secularism, minority appeasement, populist measures and no importance to welfare of the country. As to accommodate smaller parties in their umbrella (after all this is the number game), the major parties are forced to compromise on their core principles (if at all they have one) and they come out with a Common Minimum Program of implementation that never takes off. Thus, the potential of multiple issues getting generated to be catered resulting in loss of focus. In the end, one cannot see a single entity with strong center but a picture where major parties are being crushed under and dominated by these smaller parties. Slowly, this leads to stagnation.

Imagine a Government heading India that has no national Ideology, for whom national interest meant nothing. With power being ceded to regions, how can this Government act on the policies of National security which is the utmost need of this hour? India needs a decisive Government, an assertive Government that can take hard decisions. Nuclear deal is singed and so is the deal with IAEA. Hence we may not expect major agreement in the next 5 years. However, India needs to pull up its socks pertaining to upgrading its Navy, Military and Police forces. This requires a strong Government at the center to do so.

A weak center cannot have control over the States. It cannot take a firm stand on disputes like Cauvery Water sharing or border issue between Maharashtra and Karnataka or the likes of it. A weak center would allow indiscipline and insubordination to flourish which is against the nation’s health. The control or the lack of it by the Central parties over Shekhawat or Narayan Rane is a good example for this. When we boasted “Unity in Diversity” we indirectly bragged on our hypocrisy. We lacked unity and history is a proof to this. With such Government at the center, days are not too far, when one would require a Visa to visit another State in India!

Infrastructure is one area where the present government failed to pay attention. The golden quadrilateral project that completed 81% when the NDA Govt left, got completed only 56% at the end of this regime. In the name of supporting “aam aadmi”, developmental projects were being shelved and the opportunities of employment were thwarted. Redistribution-through-corruption will increase as states become more powerful in center. Here again, the state that returns most number of MPs would get major chunk of the infrastructure projects over-ruling the needs. This is not healthy in nation’s perspective.

Diplomacy is an area that is expected to get affected badly with a weaker Government at the center. With smaller parties ruling the country, they would hardly get time to discuss with their neighboring countries. What will be their stand on LTTE-Srilanka or Kashmir-POK-Pakistan, or Bangladesh-Bengal, or Arunachal Pradesh – China? Such nightmares do not allow me to sleep.

If these two national parties, Congress and BJP, still feel that they are the guardians of protecting the honor of our country, they would not allow this to happen. In the sense, at any cost, they should not allow the third front to from a Government. One might say it is the votes that decide. Still, If these two parties join hands and form a National Government (in case of a hung Parliament that seems obvious) under a common leadership. These two parties has potential leaders who can bail this country out of the crisis and these two parties has presence almost all over India. Their actions cannot be termed biased and accountability automatically fall in place.

With CEC and the President handpicked by the present government, we cannot expect them to take a neutral stand in case of hung parliament. However, those who are interested in the welfare of the country have no other option but to form a national government with representation from the major parties. Will it happen?

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