oppn parties 2019: Will Too Many Cooks Spoil The Opposition Broth?

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  • Gangster Ravi Pujari, who had jumped bail in Senegal, held in South Africa by Senegalese police in a joint operation with RAW and Mangaluru police
  • GSI says gold deposits in Sonabhadra in UP more likely to be around 160 kgs and not 3000 tonnes as erroneously estimated by a mining officer
  • Sitting SC judge, Justice Arun Mishra, calls PM Modi a "visionary" and a "versatile genius"
  • Supreme Court denies any relief to the Nirbhaya convict who claimed he was mentally unstable
  • AAP and BJP engage in a war of words after the government leaves out Kejriwal and Sisodia from US First Lady Melania Trump's visit to a Delhi school to see a happiness class in operation
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  • Income Tax department informed the Madras High Court that nearly 8700 have claimed huge tax deductions for "sales promotion expenses" and "gifts" in a case that against unethical marketing
  • Amulya Leona Noronha, the teen who was arrested for shouting "Pakistan Zindabad" at a rally in Bengaluru, was remanded to 14-day judicial custody
  • PM Modi asks the Ayodhya temple trust to ensure that the temple is built without bitterness in society and peacefully
  • US President Donald Trump says he will talk business with PM Modi during his visit to India this weekend as India is hitting the US "very hard"
  • After meeting PM Modi for the first time as Maharashtra CM, Uddhav Thackeray says the state will implement both CAA and NPR and no one has anything to fear from the two
  • Indian eves beat holders Australia in the opening match of the Women's T20 World Cup. Poonam Yadav spun the Australians out after India posted a below-par score
  • Mediators tell the protestors in Shaheen Bagh that the Supreme Court will listen to them more keenly if they remove the roadblock and move to an alternate site
  • No headway by mediators in the Shaheen Bagh imbroglio. Protestors say adjoining roads are running fine.
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
2019: Will Too Many Cooks Spoil The Opposition Broth?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-07-24 21:02:36

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has reconstituted the party working committee. The exercise was meant to make it more youthful, but the average age is still above 60 years. The new CWC met a couple of days ago and took two major decisions. The first was to pitch for “Rahul Gandhi as PM” for the 2019 general election campaign. The second was to give the president a free hand in entering into alliances with other parties to form a united front to fight the NDA.

The way the Congress has been decimated in state after state since 2014, it has no option but to enter into alliances. But the big question is whether regional parties will accept Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. The leader of one of the biggest blocks of MPs – and that figure is likely to increase in 2019 – Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, has taken the lead in forming a federal front. She has her eye set on Delhi. She has announced a rally in Kolkata in January where she is going to invite all opposition leaders. That is nothing but an attempt to showcase the massive support she has in Bengal and overwhelm other leaders into accepting her as one of the strongest contenders for the post of the PM.

There are other contenders. Sharad Pawar has long nursed the dream to occupy the top chair although his dwindling support makes him the least favoured contender. But if Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati ally in UP and deliver more than 40 to 50 seats to the opposition front, both of them can stake serious claim. The Congress can only hope for “Rahul as PM” if it dramatically improves upon the 44 seats it got in 2014. With anti-incumbency in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with support for the party in Punjab and Gujarat, the Congress is likely to emerge as the largest opposition party, perhaps with a better margin against others. The last time, the difference between the Congress and the second largest opposition party, the AIADMK was of just 7 seats and between Congress and Trinamool Congress just 10 seats. If regional parties are within striking distance of Congress numbers, they are unlikely to accept Rahul as PM. Most opposition leaders have commented as much after the CWC made its decision known.

There is only one scenario where Rahul can hope to become the leader of the opposition front. If the front manages to best the NDA and if other opposition leaders cannot come to an agreement as to who should be prime minister, they will plump for Rahul Gandhi as the consensus candidate. But if a leader is not projected during the campaign, it will be a massive propaganda victory for the NDA. Narendra Modi will coin many jumlas about how the rag-tag grouping that cannot decide upon a leader will be incapable of ruling the country. He will lose no opportunity in putting down the front as opportunistic and formed out of ‘hatred for Narendra Modi’. There is no doubt that a united opposition that strategically manages its candidates and votes at the grassroots level is likely to beat the BJP. But for that to happen, they have to decide on a leader first and then back him or her to hilt. As of now, that seems unlikely.