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Grade Crossing

UP by-polls results signal a message to Opposition parties

If Manik Sarkar can lose Tripura, and if BJP can lose Gorakhpur, pretty much anything can happen in any constituency.

 |  Grade Crossing  |  3-minute read |   14-03-2018
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Indian politics is a lot dynamic and fun to watch. You celebrate a massive victory one day, and suffer a humiliating loss the following day. BJP can explain it best in the present — climbing down from the blessings of Tripura Sundari ten days ago, to perhaps the wrath of Shri Ram today.

More than just by-polls results of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the news from UP puts forth some serious possibilities for the principal Opposition parties for the near future.

Necessity to form a combine

The results stress the fact further that BJP can be challenged in the 2019 general elections only if there is a combine of other parties, especially regional parties. But when they form it, they would be killing their own founding/practising ideologies each other for existence — like AAP shaking hands with the Congress, and the BSP doing that with the SP, their principal opponents. CPM, whose ideologies differ from most others’, will have no option either.

Because of this very reason of conflicting ideologies and priorities, the alliance will be like a building with a large umbrella as a ceiling, instead of a solid roof and can break apart any moment.

Importance of ironing out egos

Even if they achieve to enter into a possible alliance, to what extent the regional parties cooperate with each other is debatable. For instance, there’s still no alliance, but only an agreement between SP and BSP. There could be an ego of supremacy when they form an alliance at the national level, as to who is bigger. For instance, Mayawati may not unconditionally accede to the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav. But to save themselves from the possibility of annihilation at the hands of BJP, they may well have to reach consensus on seat sharing and leadership.

They should be quick to realise that it is better to have something than nothing.

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Need of leadership and vision

Akhilesh Yadav, with the support of BSP can emerge as the leader of such a political formation, considering the number of seats UP represents in the Lok Sabha. Congress is soon becoming a no-entity in such equations, and they better be part of such an alliance. What holds against Akhilesh Yadav is that he is still largely only a regional leader, and not a prominent figure at the national level. But Rahul Gandhi isn’t that popular either across the country, despite leading a national party. Akhilesh is perhaps more qualified to stand opposite Narendra Modi, although a largely regional face may not come out as a prime ministerial candidate, prior to the elections.

What is even more important is to strategise an alliance at the earliest and create a common minimum programme that caters to all segments of the country.

Belief in the possibility of an upset

The results do send out several warning signs to the “invincible” BJP leadership. The party has become very complacent as it has started enjoying the cosiness of power and overwhelming mandate. An example of it is the low turnout in the by-polls. Complacency is what killed the Congress too.

If Manik Sarkar can lose Tripura, and if BJP can lose Gorakhpur, pretty much anything can happen in any constituency.

Also read: Real reasons why Mehbooba Mufti dropped J&K finance minister Haseeb Drabu

Writer

Sreejith Panickar Sreejith Panickar @panickars

The writer is a columnist, researcher and social activist. He is the founder-member of Mission Netaji.

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