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Grand Alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the making
The oath taking ceremony of Nitish government in Bihar witnessed a bunch of anti-BJP leaders sharing the same dais. Former PM H D Devegowda, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Farooq Abdullah were the notable leaders present among others. They may have ideological differences, but one common factor, i.e. oppose Modi, united them for the time being. However the absence of SP and BSP is important in the context that an anti-Modi alliance in the national perspective is difficult without the involvement of SP and BSP.

The Nitish cabinet has Lalu's influence. His younger son Tejaswi Yadav, a 9th pass by education, became the Dy. CM and the elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, a 12th Pass by education, became Cabinet Minister with three departments. RJD has more ministers and most important portfolios. So this is effectively a RJD government with Nitish as a puppet of Lalu to work as CM the same way Manmohan Singh was a puppet to Sonia Gandhi during UPA rule.

We saw the disasters during UPA rule and we may see such disasters in Bihar as well. It is too early to say, but common sense says that things will not be good for the people of Bihar. However, let us wait for a few months to see how things are happening. If the newly elected government does good work for the people of Bihar, then nothing like it.

Leaving the Bihar situation to its fate, I think the anti-BJP parties are looking for a national alternative to Modi for 2019 LS elections. Farooq Abdulla had said that Nitish should prepare as PM aspirant in 2019 LS elections. Let us analyze whether there could be an anti-Modi alliance and a consensus PM candidate can be evolved for such an alliance.

Mulayam Singh Yadav has been harboring his hopes to become PM since long. He maintained distance from Nitish-Lalu-Congress combination in Bihar solely because he never wanted Nitish to evolve as a rival to him in the national scene. So SP may not subscribe to the idea of a national level grand alliance. In case SP joins the alliance, then Mulayam has to be the consensus PM candidate. Things will be clearer after UP elections in 2017 in which way SP will move.

Mayavati is another player who has PM ambition, but the lack of support except in UP makes her candidature weak. Further a SP-BSP alliance is unthinkable at present. Mayavati had clearly said no to any alliance with SP. So even if an alliance is made at national level, either SP or BSP will be a part of it or none.

Arvind Kejriwal is the most ambitious of all. He has a sizeable presence in Delhi. But people use to mock him and his much advertised anti-corruption image. The common perception is AAP is no different than Congress. The picture of Lalu hugging Kejriwal went viral and that effectively put Kejriwal as someone who is ready to compromise with values for the sake of power. However, Kejriwal had told a few times that he has no intention of becoming PM, but we all know that in politics nothing should be granted as face value.

Known for his U-turns, Kejriwal may lobby to be the consensus PM candidate in case an anti-Modi alliance is formed. He is credited for single handedly stopping Modi chariot at Delhi and therefore have some credibility to take on Modi again. The lack of support for AAP across India is the liability for Kejriwal. Winning 7 seats in Delhi (this is also doubtful) will not make Kejriwal PM.

Nitish Kumar had dreamed to become PM in 2014. But when Modi was declared BJP PM Candidate, his dreams shattered. In a fit of reaction, he backstabbed BJP by breaking the alliance in Bihar that was serving people well. The loss in 2014 LS elections forced Nitish to compromise on values and so he joined hands with Lalu and Congress to keep BJP at bay. He succeeded in doing that and now he is again eying the PM post in 2019. The tacit understanding between Lalu and Nitish could be that Lalu will manage Bihar and Nitish will go to Delhi.

Lastly Rahul Gandhi is also a PM aspirant. Congress is down now and acts as junior partners in any alliance. But Rahul may feel that in the case of a national alternative, Congress will lead the pack as it has pan-India presence however marginalized it is at present. People's memory is short and therefore Congress can bounce back in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and North East States. The Congress game plan is to malign Modi and win seats in these states that can improve their tally to become single largest party in LS. If that happens, Rahul can stake claim for PM position.

Mamata, Karunanidhi and other South Indian leaders have no such intention to be PM, but they would like to be king makers and get a huge cut for this.

So we see that there is a long list of PM aspirants in non BJP camps. Opportunism may unite some parties in the short term, but when it comes to reality no one will be willing to give an inch as far as PM position is concerned.

As more time elapses and we approach 2019, the political scenario could be clearer. But as of now, it seems that the anti-BJP parties have understood that there is a necessity to be united, otherwise Modi will have a cake walk in 2019. The making of a grand alliance has started. Let us see how it shapes up. In the past also a third front was conceived, talked about, but never materialized. The presence of Congress in the alliance is the new thing in the present context.

The Modi effect is such that the corrupt parties have started fearing about their political survival. This fear is so huge that some parties are ready to sacrifice against their wishes. Lalu consumed poison (supporting Nitish is as good as taking poison for him) for stopping Modi and ensuring the political future of his kids. Mulayam can also take poison for the same reason.

When PM Modi looks for votes in 2019, he will only have his performance to talk on his behalf. If he fails in his delivery of promises, NDA will have an uphill task.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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