What's coming in the way of Opposition unity?

With 2019 general election not too far, it would be interesting to see if a consensus candidate can be found to lead the Opposition.

 |  3-minute read |   04-04-2018
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By now it is pretty clear that Opposition unity is a farce and is borne out of utter desperation. The Opposition is so desperate to make its presence felt that the self-proclaimed secular-socialist brigade is trying every trick in the book to discredit the government. And it is not difficult to find opportunities to do take on incumbent powers when one is hell bent on finding them. You can literally make issues out of anything even when none exist.

Having spent years in the newsroom covering stories ever day, we often stop to feel awe, shock, horror or empathy for stories. However, the way the protest over a Supreme Court judgment, which allegedly dilutes the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, played out was tragic. It is evident that professional goons and lumpens were made to slyly join the protesting Dalits to fan tempers and increase the turmoil.

One doesn't have to go too far to understand why this happened. Divide and rule seems to be the unstated policy of the Opposition. Separate Lingayats from Hindus and then Veerashaivas from Lingayats, ensure that the social fabric of the country is shredded beyond repair seems to be the strategy of the Opposition. After all, there is nothing more important than winning elections.

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Nobody in the Opposition ranks is talking about fiscal deficit or the faltering economy. Those who were vocal about the grim unemployment situation know that they themselves are not capable of generating employment opportunities if they somehow manage to grab power.

A strong Opposition is crucial to a healthy democracy. So if regional parties can bury their differences and form a joint front, it helps to keep the incumbent powers in check. This should indeed be welcomed. Since the Congress is losing its foothold in state after state, coming together of regional parties is an encouraging development. They can work together and replace the grand old party. However, only time will tell as who would lead this joint front and if such a consensus candidate can indeed emerge.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is making a strong pitch for the position and there is no doubt that she is widely popular in her state. However, whether her popularity can have a pan-India appeal is suspect.

The visuals of Trinamool supporters chasing and thrashing people, who were reportedly BJP nominees for the upcoming panchayat elections does not augur well for her image as a leader who respects and upholds democratic principles.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who recently parted ways with the BJP, too can be a strong contender for the role to lead the Opposition. But the same question haunts him too - will he be acceptable to the other parties?

Then there are Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav. To cut the long story short, there is no dearth of leaders to lead the Opposition but their acceptability is under question.

So would the people choose Trinamool goons over right wing lumpens? Will they elect parties with no clear vision or ideology? The wait is not going to be too long because 2019 general elections are just round the corner.

Also read: This is not fake news. Smriti Irani made fastest U-turn by a minister in India’s history

Writer

Arindam De Arindam De @arindamde01

The writer is journalist working with India Today.

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