Bengal?s Mamata Banerjee and Telangana?s KCR meet to discuss alternative third front

By Prarthana Mitra

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday to discuss the idea of an alternate federal third front separate from the BJP and Congress.

The two have held talks in the past regarding a possible alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, but this is the first meeting between Banerjee and KCR to discuss the alternative front.

“There is a need to move beyond the BJP and Congress, they haven’t done anything for the nation,” said KCR. He added the front won’t be about the BJP or any other party but is instead “about the people.” He said that the new front would be the product of a collective federal leadership.  

Stitching a new alliance

Both Banerjee and KCR said they were inviting like-minded regional parties to join their crusade, demanding an alternative to the BJP and the Congress at the Centre, in light of their inadequacies and failures as ruling parties so far. There has been a noticeable increase in Banerjee’s engagements with her counterparts in Bihar, UP, Delhi, Karnataka and now Telangana.

Banerjee and KCR are optimistic about bringing a number of regional parties into their fold.


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Is India is ready for an alternative front at the Centre?

In terms of strength in Lok Sabha, Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has 34 MPs while KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi has 11 MPs, although both states have seen a rise in pro-BJP political fervour in the last couple of years.

With all major parties scrambling to form alliances ahead of the 2019 polls, it is perhaps still too early to predict if a regional alliance will pose a credible challenge to the BJP. The BJP’s current majority notwithstanding, given the fissures in the NDA alliance—the latest being the TDP’s departure from the bloc—it is perhaps not a bad idea for the BJP to consider recruiting some more allies of its own.