New Delhi (AsiaNews) – On April 23, during the 4th of the 7 rounds of voting in Uttar Pradesh (Up) elections, three former prime ministers united to form a “Third Front”. They back reconfirmation of the current premier Mulayam Singh Yadav and describe themselves a san alternative to both the ‘communal” Bharatiya Janata Party and “corruption-ridden Congress”.
All three (J Jayalalitha, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu and former Haryana boss Om Prakash Chautala ) have been part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), headed by Mulayam Singh's sworn political adversary Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Former Karnataka chief minister S. Bangarappa is also expected to join.
The UP election (175 million eligible voters) is decisive on a nationwide level as the State nominates 80 members of the Federal Parliament. Thousands of candidates are contesting the 403 seats in the local parliament, in a staggered election which began on April 8th and will conclude after 7 rounds on May 8th. Over 80% live in rural villages where access to education, health care electricity and other public services are virtually non existent. Infrastructure is also insufficient in the vast area. People complain that once candidates are elected they “disappear” along with their promises. This is why a new part, which describes itself as an alternative to the two main coalitions, may attract the protest vote from those hopeful of change.
On April 23, JJayalalithaa took everyone by surprise at an election rally by making a full-length speech in Hindi even though she is from Tamil Nadu, a State which, since the early ‘30s, has opposed the choice of Hindi as the national language. In the 60’s there were violent clashes with police causing death and injury to thousands of demonstrators, some of whom covered themselves in petrol and set themselves on fire in protest. She spoke above all about the bad governance of the current leaders in India.
Chandrababu Naidu also spoke in Hindi and attacked the Congress and the BJP, he said “while Congress is opportunistic and playing the religion card, BJP is furthering its sectarian agenda [Hindu nationalism]”.
Experts observe that in 2003, Mulayam Singh Yadav, despite being an independent, was elected premier thanks to the in direct support of the Bjp, while his Samajwadi party (social democrat) has been an historic rival supported by inferior casts and the Islamic vote. His has filled government posts for over 30 years and has on numerous occasions changed his alliances.