A non-Congress, non-BJP platform, an endeavour of the Left parties, is likely to take shape in mid-February, with key constituents of the grouping, including some members of the fractured Janata Parivar, scheduled to meet in the national capital on Wednesday.
Leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Janata Dal (Secular), the Biju Janata Dal, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the four Left parties could address a joint press conference to signal their willingness to explore an alternative to the Congress and the BJP.
For the past few days, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh have been talking of stitching together a non-Congress, non-BJP front. In their view, such a grouping has the potential to be a viable alternative in the post-election scenario.
But, in view of the general aversion among the increasingly urbanising electorate for a “third front” because of the botched National Front and United Front experiments, these parties are consciously avoiding the “much-maligned” formulation. Leaders of three of the major parties spoke on Saturday of the emerging contours in different parts of the country. While Mr. Mulayam Singh asserted in Lucknow that his party would play a key role in government formation at the Centre, Mr. Nitish Kumar said in Patna that leaders of parties opposed to the Congress and the BJP would be meeting to discuss the formation of a new bloc of like-minded parties in Parliament.
The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president H.D. Deve Gowda said there was every possibility of non-Congress and non-BJP parties coming together ahead of the election. Two meetings are scheduled for the next 10 days, he said.
In October, the Left had succeeded in bringing together 14 parties — mostly regional — to chalk out a programme to take on what they called communal forces.
On the key question who would be the prime ministerial candidate of such a grouping — particularly considering that the AIADMK has already staked claim saying that the country has never had a premier from Tamil Nadu — JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali said: “India is a parliamentary democracy and we will follow that. People will elect their representatives to Parliament and the Prime Minister will be decided post-poll.”