For democracy's sake, unite

For democracy's sake, unite

For democracy's sake, unite

There is now greater activity among opposition parties over giving a joint fight to the BJP in the coming electoral contests, especially as the next Lok Sabha election approaches.

The assembly elections to be held in several states this year will largely see straight contests between the BJP and the Congress and so the pooling of opposition strength may not be very relevant in those states. But the general elections will present a different and complex scenario, with many parties holding sway in states across the country. The need for unity of opposition forces is being increasingly realised by these parties as they witness the spread of the BJP to new territories, formation of its governments in new states through fair and not-so-fair means, and its aggressive declaration of intent to finish off the Congress politically, a call whose logical extension would be to eliminate all opposition, too. This has given a sense of urgency to the parties. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is positioning herself at the head of these efforts, is in Delhi currently, meeting political leaders from Sharad Pawar of NCP to Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, SP's Ramgopal Yadav to DMK's Kanimozhi and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal. She has even met BJP dissidents Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha.

Parties have started seriously thinking about and are making moves to form alliances, but the efforts are being made separately by different parties without a common plan and focus. The Congress, at its recent plenary meet in Delhi, called for "a pragmatic approach of working with like-minded parties…to defeat the BJP-RSS in 2019". This is a throwback to 2003 when the party suspended its reservations about alliance politics and went on to form the UPA government. But Indian politics has undergone major changes since then. For one, Congress is a mere shadow of its former self. Yet, it still has presence in all states and is the major party in many. While it has still not taken any initiative till now, some moves have been made for the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP front, notably by Mamata and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. The major limitation of such an alliance is that the regional parties are largely confined to their own states and cannot help one another. One alliance that has already shown results is the SP-BSP tie-up that defeated the BJP in its Gorakhpur and Phulpur bastions in UP earlier this month.

Opposition parties have to a long way to go to find a workable, effective and credible alliance against the BJP. A healthy and functioning democracy needs a strong opposition, and if the parties are weak individually they should gain strength through unity and joint action. So, all attempts for consolidation of the opposition should be welcomed.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)