oppn parties Opposition Parties: Will They Get Their Act Together?

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
oppn parties
Opposition Parties: Will They Get Their Act Together?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-02-16 08:42:20

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
After the AAP-organized rally of opposition parties in Delhi, despite the bravado and the talk of a common minimum programme, instead of barriers being broken, more differences have come out in the open. Although the rally was better attended than the one in Kolkata (with even the Left putting in an appearance), the way leaders of different parties avoided each other spoke volumes about the future of the alliance. For instance, despite being in Delhi since the morning, Mamata Banerjee made sure she came on the dais only after all the Left leaders had gone. She said AAP was willing to ally with the Congress but later in the evening, spokesmen for the Delhi outfit clearly hinted that Congress had all but refused an alliance.

With the opposition trying to come together and form an alliance to take on the might of the BJP, it was but natural that leaders from that party would try and show the contradictions inherent in any such alliance. Prime Minister Modi has termed it as “mahamilavat”. If the opposition parties keep on spurning each other, it will provide further opportunity to the BJP to trash the alliance. Hence, it is necessary for the opposition to get its act together fast. The review of the draft common minimum programme (CMP) in four weeks from now provides an excellent opportunity (and probably the last chance) for them to shed their respective egos and unite with a purpose.

It is now clear from the recent maneuvers of the Congress party that it has taken the SP-BSP alliance in UP as a big slight. It has inducted Priyanka Gandhi in the fray and has decided to go all out in the state. With the stakes being the highest in the largest state in India, this does not spell well for opposition unity. Then, despite Rahul Gandhi voicing support for Mamata Banerjee in her stand-off with the Centre over the CBI raid in Kolkata, the local leaders of West Bengal Congress have been critical of the TMC boss over the chit funds scam in the state and Mamata has let her displeasure be known in no uncertain terms. Further, the question of who will lead the alliance remains unanswered.

Still, when these leaders meet to review the CMP, they will have a huge opportunity to resolve all issues and present a united front before those voters who are looking for an alternative to the BJP. As the largest all-India party in the proposed alliance, the Congress will have to take the lead in addressing the concerns of the smaller parties and bring them on board. For instance, in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, although the Congress is the dominant party, it needs to bring BSP (which gets anywhere between 3 to 5% of the popular votes in these states) on board to maximize the returns. Three-cornered fights must be avoided wherever possible if the alliance wishes to make a difference. For this to happen, consultations must start now and a culmination must be reached in four weeks. Any delay will be suicidal.