Forced to lie low after their dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, parties like Samajwadi Party, Janada Dal - Secular, Lok Janshakti Party and the Left Front have come together in Maharashtra to contest the assembly elections.
Having formed the Republican Left Democratic Front in the state, these parties claim that the alliance is only for the assembly elections in Maharashtra, which are scheduled to be held on October 13.
However, insiders say that if the results are favourable for the RLDF, then the alliance could spread to other states too. The 18-party alliance has seen all the five warring factions of the RPI, including the ones led by Ramdas Athawale and Rajendra Gavai, come together, while some smaller parties including the Peasants and Workers Party and Shetkari Sangathana are also part of it.
Chief whip of Samajwadi Party Shailendra Kumar clarified that his party's alliance with other constituents of the front was only for the Maharashtra polls.
"(SP chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav had authorised Maharashtra SP head Abu Asim Azmi to hold meetings with other parties of the alliance. The understanding is only for Maharashtra polls. The future of the alliance will depend on the outcome of the polls," Kumar said.
JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda also played safe on the alliance. Though confident of a good performance in the state, Gowda echoed SP's views.
"It is only a local understanding for Maharashtra," he said, adding that the partners had not even discussed the possibility of extending the alliance beyond the state as of now.
Lok Janshakti Party secretary general Abdul Khaliq also said they were in the alliance for Maharashtra and were contesting only six seats in pockets like Bhiwandi and Nagpur, where they are banking on minority and Dalit votes.
"Our Dalit Sena is quite active in these pockets and we are looking at Muslim and Dalit support in these areas. The future of the alliance will depend a lot on the poll's outcome," Khaliq said.
The SP is contesting nearly 30 seats in Maharashtra, while the JD-S is fighting 20 seats. There are 288 seats in the Maharashtra assembly. The Left parties and JD-S were the main architects of the Third Front before the Lok Sabha polls.
However, both were left high and dry after the polls, with JD-S wiining just three seats and the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India - Marxist only four and 16 seats respectively.
LJP, on the other hand, failed to even open its account, with its chief Ram Vilas Paswan also losing in the LS polls. The post poll scenario forced LJP, JD-S and even SP to lend outside support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.