United they can win
The resounding defeat of the BJP candidates in two by-elections held in UP recently send a clear signal that if the opposition parties could get together they could get the better of the saffron party that too with relative ease. (The opposition dilemma – Alive – July, 2018). In this case two parties that have always been at loggerheads with each other, the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav and the Bahujsan Samaj Party led by Mayawathi decided to sink their differences and contest the bypolls and their candidates romped home easy winners. The hurt for the BJP was all the more because one of the seats, Gorakhpur had been vacated by the present UP CM Yogi Adityanath and the other Phulpur had been a pocket borough of the Dy CM Maurya Prasad Varma. With the 2019 elections looming large the opposition have already begun making their moves to come together on a common platform and form a mahagathbandhan to take on the BJP. The Congress being the only pan India party in the opposition could have been the automatic choice to lead the front but the party is today a pale shadow of its once formidable self and has just 48 seats to show in the Lok Sabha. It has also been soundly thrashed by the BJP and other regional parties in the state as well. Gauging the mood of the opposition parties, the Congress President Rahul Gandhi has announced that the Congress would be ready to throw its weight behind any PM nominee put up by the opposition as long as he or she has no links with the RSS. However it has not been roses all the way as far as the initiatives taken to form a rainbow alliance is concerned. In Bihar for example the mahagathbandhan formed by the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress trounced the BJP in the assembly elections but came apart soon after with Nitish refusing to have any truck with the RJD led by Lalu Prasad Yadav who had been sentenced to a term in jail on corruption charges. And to add insult to injury Nitish formed an alliance with the BJP and managed to stay on as the CM. This led to a split in the JD (U) with the party President Sharad Yadav heading a new faction. The various regional satraps like Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawathi, Naveen Patrnaik, Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhara Rao are all extremely powerful in their own states but as far as their status as national leaders is concerned they do not count for much. The two Communist parties, the
CPM and the CPI have lost their relevance totally and having lost West Bengal and Tripura they are in power only in Kerala. So a Communist leader emerging as a consensus candidate for the PM’s post is out of question. As almost all the opposition parties have a single agenda and that is to send the BJP and the NDA packing they should rally behind the Congress and magnanimously announce the candidature of Rahul Gandhi as their PM nominee. Even though it is not clear whether opposition unity could become a reality this appears to be the post possible scenario for them.
— C V Aravind