The Daily Fix: Is the Third Front an idea whose time has come?

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The Big Story: Three to tango

The unthinkable has happened. West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee has defended the Communist Party of India (Marxist). After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Tripura led to the demolition of a Lenin statue, Banerjee said she would not tolerate attacks on the Left. She even tried to argue, rather unconvincingly, that for all her ideological battles with the Communist Party of India (Marxist), she had never targeted them. For those who lived through the glory days of the Trinamool in opposition in Bengal, or even remember the chief minister seeing a Marxist conspiracy everywhere in the early days of her government, this will sound quite fantastic. But Banerjee’s attentions have now turned to the BJP, emerging as the chief opposition in her state.

The rise of the BJP as the main force to reckon with has collapsed other regional oppositions as well. Only think of the unearthly alliance of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party for the Lok Sabha by-polls in Uttar Pradesh. Once they were the two poles around which Uttar Pradesh’s politics were arranged but the BJP’s clean sweep in the last elections seems to have made that rivalry irrelevant. The Bihar elections of 2015 saw the Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) join hands with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, the union of “nyay ke saath vikaas” (social justice with development) and Jungle Raj. The union was not to last but the BJP juggernaut did manage to reconcile two of the most legendary rivals in Indian politics over the last two decades.

These regional reconciliations have held up once more the intriguing possibility of a Third Front. Recently, Telangana Chief Minister KC Rao called for a Third Front before the general elections of 2019 and was met with an enthusiastic response from Banerjee and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi. Leaders of Rao’s party, the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, also claim regional parties such as the Jhakhand Mukti Morcha, the Samajwadi Party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had shown interest. If it succeeds, it would be a diverse group, bringing together a range of regional interests.

The Congress has finally been jolted to action, with former party president Sonia Gandhi reaching out to opposition leaders. In such a situation, the BJP would only be too happy to have the opposition vote divided. But could there be a Third Front that is more than a vote divider? In reality, it has never worked well. The Third Front governments formed in the 1990s were unstable and fractious, riven by internal dissensions and regional rivalries. Let alone form government, if the new Third Front is to be a credible political force, it cannot just be a conglomeration of parties held together by the negative attribute that they are not Congress and not BJP. It needs a political idea to bind it together. But with such diverse constituents, it will have hard work finding common ground.

The Big Scroll

Anita Katyal notes that a non-Congress Third Front can only bring cheer to the BJP.

Aarefa Johari reported on how disillusioned Patels were waiting for a Third Front in Gujarat, but in vain.

Back in 2016, Anita Katyal had found Mamata Banerjee saying that an anti-BJP front was a possibility but she was not going to lead it.


  1. In the Indian Express, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on Raag Darbaari, “one of the finest books on Indian democracy ever written”.
  2. In the Hindu, Suhasini Haider on why India should go back to making the neighbourhood first again.
  3. In the Telegraph, Sankarshan Thakur compares Kashmir to Shakespearean tragedy.


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Nidhi Jamwal reports on how hail storms have brought more woes to Maharashtra’s farmers:

Patil’s loss isn’t limited to his winter crops alone. Last year, he had planted Bt cotton on 14 acres. But a pest attack of pink bollworm destroyed his crop. “The cotton plants kept growing till 6-7 ft height, but when very few buds developed, I realized there was some problem,” he said. “On checking with the agriculture department, I realised it was a pink bollworm attack. I had to burn and destroy my crop so that the pest does not affect my next crop cycle. My investment of Rs 150,000 in Bt cotton went down the drain.”  

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.