A good friend forwarded this thoughtful piece to me.
To a degree, the BJP mimicked the Congress behaviour of yore that have brought the Opposition parties together and in bed with the Congress again! The mistake Modi made was not in creating a ‘Congress-culture-mukt’ Bharat.
It is also a failure of any of the regional leaders to rise above their regional origins that, as a country, there is no real alternative to the Congress and the BJP.
The BJP should have presented a true alternative to the Congress – pragmatic and practical policy agenda, centrist but leaning towards less-distortionary and less interventionist attitude towards governance, true devolution to lower levels of government, true delegation with empowerment in the Union Cabinet, transparent performance evaluation annually, facilitating emergence of state-level leadership, etc.
In other words, the failure to institutionalise governance at all levels – a failure of the Congress Party for over the many decades that it dominated Indian politics and governance – has made the anti-Congress alliances of the past become the anti-BJP political formations.
One different but important final point:
What makes the prospect of an alliance this time of the Third Front that much more frightening is that an alliance with a much weaker Congress (than of yore) means that regional parties with narrower and more limited ambitions and goals will dominate. They won’t have a national perspective on many things. They may also be more vulnerable to capture by India-inimical forces. I hope I am very wrong on this.