Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI—Though one month is left for Bihar assembly elections, small parties – Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Asaduddin Owaisi All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslamin (AIMIM) – has launched a campaign to float Third Front to pressurize bigger parties on many fronts. The move is being initiated by the RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha who is not at good terms with RJD leader Tejasvi Yadav who is having an alliance with the Congress.
He has started meeting leaders of smaller political parties. Recently, Kushwaha met leaders of the BSP in Patna. He has also met Jan Adhikar Party leader Pappu Yadav and is in touch with Vikas-sheel Insaan Party leader Lukesh Sahni, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi leader and Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party.
Kushwaha has already given signal of his exit from the RJD-led alliance along with his party leaders saying that he has offers from the ruling NDA too.
Kushwaha has launched the move of Third Front at a crucial time for the BJP-JD(U) alliance when Ramvilas Paswan has started flexing his muscles giving indication that his party may contest assembly election separately if he is not given 30-36 seats out of 243 constituencies in seat sharing pact. Paswan is Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution in NDA government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But Paswan is not likely to be allotted as many seats as in the previous assembly election as Paswan’s party-Lok Janshakti Party-could win only two seats in the last assembly election.
According to a political analyst, announcing for a possibility of Third Front is a tactic of smaller parties getting more seats during seat-sharing pact of RJD-Congress and other parties alliance.
However, all these small parties have limited electoral presence in the state. For instance, in the previous election the BSP managed to get only 2.07 per cent votes. Kushwaha’s RLSP is banking on the calculation that Kushwaha (Koeri) population has a sizeable presence in many of the reserved seats. Koeris are estimated to constitute about eight per cent of the state population.
According to the sources, Mukesh Sahni is negotiating with RJD for the Deputy Chief Minister if the RJD-Congress alliance is voted to power. Sahni belongs to Nishad community which has sizeable presence in the state. Pappu Yadav is also talking of his vote sharing of 1.35 crore.
The AIMIM contested six seats in the last Assembly elections. But it managed to open its account last year winning the Kishanganj bypoll. The party has already announced that it would contest in alliance with Devendra Prasad Yadav’s Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic).