Alliance at state level, but unity at national level

Stitch the anti-BJP alliance at the state level but show a united face nationally — this seems to be the Opposition plan as the parties switch to election mode for the Lok Sabha elections.

Amid projections about disunity among themselves over several issues from the latest one on the AAP, Opposition parties are now planning to have a show of unity every month at the national level on a common platform though they will not have a national front to take on the BJP.

The move comes amid BJP campaign that there are fissures within the Opposition and questions how the larger Opposition could reconcile the arch rivalry between parties like the CPM and the Trinamool Congress or the Congress and the AAP.

One of the first indications of sharing space on a common platform by rivals within the Opposition came at the swearing-in of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy where CPM, Trinamool Congress, AAP and Congress leaders did not mind seen together.

"A national-level front is not a possibility. All parties in the Opposition are anti-BJP and they have a common ground. But some of them have their own compulsions too. At the same time, one has to tell people that we could work together at the national level. We need to have such programmes," a top Opposition leader told DH.

With this in mind, Opposition leaders are planning non-political events to bring leaders of around 18-20 Opposition parties every month on a national platform. Discussions are on to evolve such programmes, which includes the revival of Sharad Yadav-led 'Saanjha Virasat' (Save Composite Culture) campaign.

While the CPM and the Trinamool Congress have not been reluctant recently to engage on specific issues while keeping their political opposition intact, the Congress practically keeping out the AAP from the Opposition unity efforts has not gone down well with several parties.

Though the Congress was not engaged on the latest round of confrontation between the AAP and the NDA government due to its antipathy to Arvind Kejriwal, non-Congress Opposition viewed it as an opportunity to rally against the BJP. Four chief ministers belonging to the TDP, Trinamool Congress, CPM and JD(S) orchestrated a show of solidarity, which was supported by others like the DMK and the RJD.

While some of them see the Congress reluctance to support the AAP in Delhi as a dampener, they want such occasions should not be allowed to be viewed as disunity.

"We should not allow the BJP to spread misinformation that we are not united. We have to remember how the United Front and UPA governments were formed," another Opposition leader said. 

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