oppn parties Mayawati's Actions Will Thwart Opposition Unity

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  • 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.
  • After China objects to Home Minister Amit Shah's Arunachal visit, India says China has no business to comment on the issue as the state is an integral part of India
  • The OBC "creamy layer" to be changed by including salary as part of the income that will decide the threshold. This will lead to many more getting left out
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says the word "nationalism" should not be used now as it has acquired negative connotations
  • UP Sunni Central Wakf Board accepts the 5-acre plot given by the government to rebuild the Babri masjid as per the terms of the Supreme Court order
  • Two dalits thrashed and abused in Rajasthan's Nagaur. Police arrest 7 persons
  • Supreme Court rejects curative petition in the Uphaar cinema fire case in Delhi and says there will be no further jail terms for the owners, the Ansal brothers
  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
Mayawati's Actions Will Thwart Opposition Unity

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-09-21 08:16:41

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Mayawati has started flexing her muscles. It is detrimental for opposition unity. But bhenji is not concerned about that now. She has suffered a lot of humiliation since 2014 and is in no mood to give in to lopsided seat-sharing deals, especially when she knows that the backward classes are back with her and will no longer be swayed by the growth promises of the BJP like they were in 2014. Hence, she has snubbed the Congress and tied up with Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh. Her party will get 35 seats while Jogi’s party will fight on 55 seats. Mayawati has declared that Jogi will be chief minister if the alliance wins.

This comes concurrently with her declaration of 22 candidates for Madhya Pradesh, another state where she is in talks with the Congress over sharing seats. Initially, she wanted 50 seats for her party. But Congress continued to dither. So Mayawati went ahead and announced the 22 candidates. Most of the seats for which the candidates have been selected fall in the area considered to be the fiefdom of Jyotiraditya Scindia, putting Congress in a fix. It seems the Madhya Pradesh efforts on seat sharing will also fall through.

The same goes for Rajasthan. Given the state’s propensity to change government’s every five years, the Congress is sure of winning here. Rajasthan is mostly a two horse race with the party in direct fight with the BJP. Hence it is in no mood to concede space to the BSP. But Mayawati’s party does have a presence in the state. It won 3 seats in 2013, with 3.4% of the popular vote. Although this was 4.2% less than what the party got in 2009, this time around the party is hoping to make a better showing due to atrocities on Dalits by the Hindutva elements. Hence, Mayawati wants a good number of seats which the Congress is not willing to concede.

All this is bad news for opposition unity in the run-up to the general elections in 2019 but good news for the BJP. Even a small division in opposition votes is likely to benefit the ruling party as in keenly contested elections, 3 or 4 percent of votes make a huge impact. If the opposition is serious about presenting a united face in 2019, it must appoint a National Coordinator - perhaps Mamata Banerjee can take up the role - to smoothen out seat-sharing formulas between different parties and the Congress in the states. This will prevent tiffs and acrimony and will lead to a smoother understanding in 2019. But will the Congress, riven by internal conflicts, allow Banerjee, or any other senior opposition leader, to play this role?