oppn parties Rahul: BJP To Lose If Oppn United. So What's New?

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Rahul: BJP To Lose If Oppn United. So What's New?

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.
Rahul Gandhi is very upbeat these days. In fact, he is so charged up that he does not realize what he says is not rocket science and is very insulting for the position the Congress finds itself in. A few days ago he said that let alone the NDA winning in 2019, Narendra Modi might even lose his seat in Varanasi if the opposition is united against the BJP. So whatÂ’s new?

Everyone knows that in most elections in India, the winning party seldom secures more than 50 percent of the popular votes cast. In our first past the post system of elections, a party can win despite a united opposition only if it gets more than 50 percent of the votes cast. The BJP alone won 282 seats in 2014 with just 31.2% of the popular votes. In Varanasi, Modi won the seat with 56.37% of the popular votes.

Hence, a simple unity of opposition parties that ensures a single candidate against all BJP/NDA candidates will be enough to turn the tables in 2019. But in Varanasi, there has to be opposition unity as well as a swing away from Modi to ensure his defeat. The swing has to be as large as 8 percent of the votes. For if the united opposition fields a single candidate against Modi and if all other things remain the same, Modi will pip him on the strength of his voting percentage.

Now let us come to what actually happens on the ground. There are scores of regional parties who have opposing views. Each one of them has its loyal vote bank. Not all of them will be ready to bury the hatchet and fight the BJP unitedly like Samajvadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Then there are independent candidates. Together, these small parties and the independents garner as much as 10% to 20% of the votes cast in most places. That often throws a spanner in the best laid plans of others.

Further, by saying that the BJP can be defeated only by a united opposition, Rahul Gandhi has already thrown in the towel. For, opposition unity is a tricky thing which might or might not materialize. It depends on multiple factors that are beyond his control. Despite being the principal opposition in several states, the Congress has been reduced to being a caricature of its former self only because it yielded space to regional parties. Now, by again cozying up to them in order to throw out Modi, the Congress is signing its death warrant in more than half of India.

As soon as the opposition will unite as envisaged by the regional satraps, Congress will be wiped out in West Bengal, Odisha, UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and the entire north-east except Assam. The states where it will remain relevant have just 195 Lok Sabha seats. After this, the Congress will never be able to come to power on its own. What can be more insulting than that for the party of Nehru and Indira?