Panic-stricken after the results of the Assembly elections in the Northeast, an assortment of opposition parties is now singing the chorus of the elusive “third front”. Let ideologies go for a toss; they face an existential crisis now. The middle class and the intellectual right may be underwhelmed by the extent of economic reforms Prime Minister Narendra Modi has carried out in about four years; that is, however, unable to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party juggernaut from rolling further. By seizing the control of Tripura, held by the leftists for more than two decades, the BJP has reduced the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to insignificance in the country. The Left Democratic Front in Kerala is shaky owing to the State’s history of sending the CPM-led front and Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front to power alternately. West Bengal has long ceased to be a leftist bastion after Mamata Banerjee administered the communist medicine to the very communists to win the State in 2011, trouncing it further in 2016. The INC is flustered because it could not form a government in Meghalaya and Nagaland either, where the BJP alone was far from achieving a majority. But the irony begins now. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who hardly enjoys the confidence of the rest of the polity, has called for a non-INC opposition unity. Every non-BJP party that had once been an archrival of another regional party wishes to ally with the former enemy for no purpose other than defeating the BJP by hook or by crook. While their assessment that the INC is incapable of defeating the BJP is quite correct, there is no other leader from Jammu & Kashmir’s Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah to Tamil Nadu’s E Palaniswamy and MK Stalin, including Bengal’s Banerjee and Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, who can glue the front’s constituents together. Alternatively, the destiny of a front that is led by a facetious Rahul Gandhi is doomed.

Since no political party in the country is thoroughly ideological, let us also talk performance. The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have, in the afternoon, struck an alliance for the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, after betraying mistrust for each other early in the morning! It would have been so much better for the wretched people of the State if either Mayawati or Akhilesh Yadav had chased the antisocial elements, cleaned the garbage of cities, provided the people with basic amenities and brought back English medium education in elementary schools like current Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is doing. They would not have to lose the seat of power in the first place. Banerjee has been trying her best to welcome industries — but to no avail! Potential investors simply cannot trust an area infested by Islamist hooligans and also living under the shadow of Trinamool Congress’s hoodlums. For reasons known best to the Biju Janata Dal, Patnaik is no longer making national news for pushing industrialisation in his province, which the as-yet-uncrowned prince of the INC, then leading the United Progressive Alliance, would playfully enjoy denying. A disgraced Ajit Jogi, wanting to exact revenge on his parent party, has become the latest ‘third front’ chorister. Given a chance, Mehbooba Mufti (after separation from the BJP) and Omar Abdullah are equally capable of disintegrating Kashmir from India. For what good of the country are these ‘leaders’ coming together — if not for their shameless yearning for the high seat of Lutyen’s Delhi?

This opportunistic bunch was no better even when the INC footprint was spread across the nation. On the one hand, as direct or indirect participants in the governments of 1977-80, 1989-91 and 2004-09, they pushed the country backward. On the other, the activists inspired by their dogmatic, communist and socialist ideologies also infiltrate in every new and old party to diminish their distinction from the rest of the political crop. All their ills taken care of, when their rag-tag coalition forms a government, it collapses under the pushes and pulls of the avaricious chieftains within a year or two, bringing uncertainty and instability to the nation-state. The people of the country must realise the evil that they are, and keep punishing them poll after poll, whether they remain disparate or put up a united fight (for the brief period that they can stand one another, that is).