oppn parties Index Of Opposition Unity After Maharashtra

News Snippets

  • SC will examine whether a ban should be put in place to prevent tainted politicians from contesting elections
  • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das says there are limitations on monetary policy and the economy needs structural reforms to spur growth
  • Centre, citing the gravity of the crime, assigns the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA to preempt the Maharashtra government from handing it over to SIT to be formed for the purpose
  • Billionaire investor George Soros says in his speech at Davos that Prime Minister Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state
  • IMF chief Kritalina Georgieva says growth slump in India is temporary and momentum will improve going ahead
  • CJI S A Bobde says excessive taxation is a form of social injustice
  • Nitish Kumar says senior JD(U) leader and former bureaucrat Pavan Varma is free to leave the party after he criticizes the party's alliance with the BJP in Delhi
  • The government approaches the Supreme Court to fix a 7-day deadline for filing of mercy pleas by death row convicts
  • SC reinstates the woman staffer who accused former CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment
  • Anupam Kher and Nasseruddin Shah clash over politics. Shah calls him "a clown" while Kher says Shah is a habitual critic of famous people
  • More than 100 Muslim clerics meet Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and demand that the state assembly pass a resolution against the CAA and does not implement it in the state
  • BJP calls the Congress "Muslim League Congress"
  • USA says Pakistan has limited options on J&K
  • India rejects US President Donald Trump's mediation in J&K
  • India plunges 10 spots on democracy index, now at 51st place
India beat New Zealand by 4 wickets in the first T20
oppn parties
Index Of Opposition Unity After Maharashtra

By A Special Correspondent

After the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra, political commentators have again started talking about how it has changed political equations and can form the basis of future alliances, even on a pan-India basis, against the BJP. This talk gained currency during the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and even after the Bhua-Bhatija (SP-BSP) experiment in UP. The alacrity with which they come together is always much less than the acrimony with which they break-off with each other.

While there is a need for a strong opposition against the BJP, such alliances of convenience, as the one formed in Maharashtra, are not the answer. The coming together of parties that are not on the same page on most issues and fought the elections against each other but want to form the government just to spite the BJP is a marriage that results in divorce, sooner rather than later. Maybe the government in Maharashtra will last its full term but it is still not the way to beat the BJP.

The BJP can be beaten. It is not immune to anti-incumbency as was proved in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. It got nearly beaten even in Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat. It does not have acceptance in many states as was proved in Punjab, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal.

But such alliances of convenience are not the answer. The opposition has to first understand that the people vote differently in assembly and Lok Sabha elections. If they continue to gloat over the smaller picture, they will miss the larger one. The 2019 elections were held in the backdrop of several decisions by the NDA government that put people into a lot of hardships. Acche din, as promised by Modi in 2014, were nowhere to be seen five years later. The situation was pregnant with anti-incumbency.

Yet, the opposition allowed Modi to run away with a near landslide victory. What does this suggest? It suggests that despite scoring victories at the state level, most regional political parties and the Congress have failed to fire the imagination of the people when it comes to the nation as a whole. This is not to say that the BJP is unbeatable at the national level or that the Modi brand is all-pervading. The proof is provided in the percentage of votes the BJP gets on a pan-India basis which is much below 50%.

 What the opposition needs are not such alliances of convenience but a concerted effort, broken down to the seat level in each state. They have to ensure a one-to-one fight with the BJP by leaving each Lok Sabha seat to the party best placed to beat it. But their personal differences and the overriding wish of regional parties to protect their turfs will not make it happen. Further, it is doubtful whether the people would still accept it as Modi has made them become fearful of a khichdi government at the Centre.