oppn parties Will The United Front Without A Face Win Against Modi?

News Snippets

  • 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
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
Will The United Front Without A Face Win Against Modi?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-08-05 14:37:33

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Opposition parties have taken the easy way out of the leadership issue. After hectic parleys involving the chief mover and shaker, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, and other opposition leaders, mainly Sonia and Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, it has been decided that they will focus on defeating the BJP first and keep the leadership issue pending. But it may backfire as fighting a strong personality like Narendra Modi without an equally strong face may or may not work in their favour.

The opposition leaders might be worried that constant bickering over who will be PM might send wrong signals to the voters. They might also be concerned that the BJP will seize on the issue and drive home the point during campaigning by saying that how will those who cannot decide on a candidate rule the country if voted to power. Already, there are daily speculations in the media about this or that leader throwing his hat in the ring. Also, one thing is certain at this stage – Rahul Gandhi, much to the chagrin of the Congress party – is not the automatic choice to be the PM.

But the present decision of postponing of naming the PM candidate works fine for the Congress. For, despite the initial bravado after the CWC meeting naming Rahul as the opposition face, the party had backtracked immediately in the face of repeated salvos from other opposition leaders. The decision to backtrack was based on sound calculation. The party knows that with the BJP experiencing anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, if it can suppress infighting in its state units there, it is going to get many more seats than it did in 2014. It is also banking on Gujarat, Karnataka and Punjab to shore up its final tally. It also knows that the regional parties that comprise the heavyweights in the opposition front are limited to particular states and cannot get more than 40-50 seats. So the Congress is hoping to get more than that and present them with a fait accompli (of being the largest party) to ensure that Rahul gets the hot seat post the elections – if the united opposition trumps the NDA.

But the Congress must remember that its recent decisions are going to haunt it there too. The party had conceded the top spot in Karnataka to the JD(S) even though the latter got less than half the seats won by the Congress. Opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee might raise the seniority issue to claim the PM’s post even though the Congress tally might be higher. Will the Congress follow the Karnataka example at the Centre too? Will it concede the top post to Mamata Banerjee just to keep the BJP out?