oppn parties Mamata's United Opposition Rally: Questions Remain Unanswered

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
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Mamata's United Opposition Rally: Questions Remain Unanswered

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-01-20 21:25:23

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Kolkata rally by the opposition parties, organized and steered by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, was a huge success in terms of attendance – both by opposition leaders and the crowd. Almost the entire opposition leadership – barring the Left parties, KCR from Telangana, Naveen Pattanaik from Odisha, the Thackerays from Shiv Sena (although not technically the opposition, no love is lost between them and Modi) and Jagan Reddy from Andhra – was present and it included the high profile BJP rebels like Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie, along with Yashwant Sinha who has left the party. The Congress bigwigs, Rahul and Sonia, gave the event a miss and sent Mallikarjun Kharge instead. Also not present was BSP boss Mayawati, who also chose to send a representative. The crowd was huge as TMC has created a virtual political monopoly in the state by annihilating the Left and the Congress and not allowing the BJP to take roots in the state.

The sound bites were also perfect. Speaker after speaker bashed Narendra Modi and his ideology. They spared nothing – from his dictatorial style of functioning to his divisive politics, from his intolerance to criticism to his destroying of institutions and his bad policies that were ruining the economy. They were all united in saying that Modi needs to be removed and agreed that it could be done only by a united opposition. They also effusively praised Didi – as Mamata is universally known – for taking the lead in uniting the opposition. They also underplayed the question of leadership, choosing to say that the matter will be decided once Modi is defeated.

But no one said anything about Mamata Banerjee leading the opposition in the 2019 elections, something that would have been music to Didi’s ears. It needs to be remembered that MK Stalin was present on the stage. Stalin had proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name as prime minister in the event of an opposition victory in 2019 in a recent rally in Chennai. Hence, despite the success of the rally, the questions that were there before it was held still remain. Namely, who will be prime minister in they win and how will this talk of unity translate into seat sharing on the ground. Already, the SP-BSP have struck an alliance that excludes the Congress in UP. That Congress is miffed at this and the talks of Mamata leading the opposition instead of Rahul is evident from the fact that Rahul chose to give the event a miss, knowing full well that it afforded a great opportunity to slam Modi. Hence, despite the relatively successful rally, there is a lot that remains to be done for a united opposition to take on the BJP juggernaut in the upcoming elections.