It’s not just the meeting of Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav with Naveen Patnaik, that gave rise to speculations that a Third Front could likely to be happen sooner or later, the back channel talks have been going on for over a year to reunite the erstwhile Janata Dal leaders to provide the country a better and viable alternative and stop the Modi juggernaut. The regional parties are worried about the imminent danger of facing extinction if they don’t act on time.
The Modi-Shah duo has been aggressively planning, plotting and implementing their strategy to capture all States in India by hook or by crook. With ‘Brand Modi’ being the most popular leader in the country, BJP has been on an offensive. If they win Uttar Pradesh, they won’t stop there and will be on a rampage to capture other states such as Karnataka and Odisha. And, the former Janata Dal leaders have a major role to play in these states.
Whether Gathbandhan or Mahagathbandhan, they may not yield the desired results. Even the reunion of Janata Dal partners may not make huge impact in 2019. However, they are hopeful of creating a pressure group and put a check on BJP’s unstoppable march. All eyes will be on Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Lalu Yadav (Bihar), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and HD Devegowda (Karnataka).
In Lok Sabha polls, these states have altogether 169 seats – which is almost 31% of the total Lok Sabha seats. It’s definitely huge. The erstwhile Janata Dal leaders are still having a strong base in these states. If they join hands to fight BJP, as Congress has been on a sharp decline there, they could still do better. And, Congress may love to play a second fiddle and transfer its own votes to Janata Dal in order to stop Modi-Shah-BJP.
If BJP fails to get majority on its own in 2019 and forced to bank on allies, the political game and equation in India will go through sea change. It’s too early to be convinced of a merger of Janata Dal factions due to their political compulsion in respective states. But, they could take that risk to save themselves from extinction and complete rout in the Modi Era. We can’t rule this out altogether. These parties are reportedly waiting to see the Gujarat assembly polls results in Dec 2017 before taking the final plunge by early 2018.