Political competition blocking Oppn Unity on CAA-NRC

Last Updated 28 December 2019, 16:26 IST

Competitive politics has emerged as the biggest roadblock in Opposition unity against a resurgent BJP, even as the countrywide protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has seen most Opposition parties raising their voice against it.

The fissures and internal rivalry prevented a joint show, even as the tone and tenor of most parties is the same on the issue. So while West Bengal Chief Minister is organising solo shows in what is the 'ground zero' of CAA-NRC politics, slamming the two measures, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati is more busy tackling a rising rival from the Scheduled Caste community Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, the founder of Bhim Army.

Last Sunday, when Azad was in the news after joining the protest against NRC-CAA near Jama Masjid in New Delhi, Mayawati said that Scheduled Castes feel that the Bhim Army chief is participating in the protest in Delhi for political reasons, keeping in mind upcoming elections in UP in order to affect the vote base of BSP.

Scheduled Castes constitute 21.1% of total votes in Uttar Pradesh, who used to vote for the Congress en masse, before the BSP's emergence.

On Saturday, the BSP chief also trained guns on the Congress, after Priyanka Gandhi’s show against the CAA in Lucknow

In Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi’s "Dine with Dalit programme" across the length and breadth of the state between 2008 and 2010 was followed by the ouster of BSP from power in 2012 Assembly polls, in which the Samajwadi Party had come to power.

Later in 2017, the SP and Congress had fought Assembly elections together, while the BSP waged a lonely battle against a behemoth BJP.

Such competitive politics of Opposition parties also prevent them from coming together in other states like West Bengal, Telangana and Delhi. Kerala was the only state which saw the ruling Left Democratic Front and Congress-led United Democratic Front joining hands to stage a joined hunger strike against the CAA-NRC in Thiruvananthapuram on December 16.

In West Bengal, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continues to be the most vocal voice against CAA, the Congress and Left came together to organize a joint protest on Friday, during which Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Mamata's bete noire, minced no words in attacking her.

Even in Delhi, when the BJP and AAP sparred over the CAA protests, Congress was seen maintaining a distance from Arvind Kejriwal's party on the issue.

(Published 28 December 2019, 15:03 IST)

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