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

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  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Opposition Parties: Will They Get Their Act Together?

By Sunil Garodia

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.