ND AL­LIANCE?

Only a broad coali­tion of par­ties, in­clud­ing the Con­gress, can chal­lenge the NDA in 2019, the MOTN sur­vey sug­gests. But who gets to lead the march?

India Today - - OP­PO­SI­TION - By Ajit Ku­mar Jha

39 PER CENT FEEL RAHUL GANDHI’S PER­FOR­MANCE AS THE VICE-PRES­I­DENT OF THE CON­GRESS PARTY HAS BEEN GOOD/ OUT­STAND­ING

EVER SINCE 1977, In­dian democ­racy has al­ter­nated be­tween sin­gle-party dom­i­nance and a grand al­liance among sev­eral par­ties. In the past, the Con­gress was the dom­i­nant party; since May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party has as­sumed that man­tle. In the states, the trend of grand al­liances had set in much ear­lier, in 1967, when the Con­gress lost eight out of 16 assem­bly elec­tions. All seven states in the north and Tamil Nadu in the south ex­per­i­mented with coali­tion gov­ern­ments and ide­o­log­i­cally broad al­liances, which may have been frag­ile, tem­po­rary and ten­u­ous but at the same time were much more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the vot­ers.

By 1977, Indira Gandhi’s dra­co­nian Emer­gency and the JP move­ment cul­mi­nated in the emer­gence of the Janata Party, a grand al­liance of ide­o­log­i­cally po­lar op­po­sites, from the Jan Sangh to the Left Front. Jayaprakash Narayan be­came the mes­siah of the anti-Con­gress Op­po­si­tion. Based on the 1977 tem­plate, Vish­wanath Pratap Singh car­ried out an­other tran­sient ex­per­i­ment of a grand al­liance against the Ra­jiv Gandhi gov­ern­ment in 1989, with the BJP and Left Front as part­ners. It was fol­lowed in 1996 by two other mi­nor­ity United Front gov­ern­ments, led by Deve Gowda and In­der Ku­mar Gu­jral in Delhi.

By this time, the rise of re­gional par­ties and the am­bi­tions of the state satraps made them too sig­nif­i­cant in elec­toral con­sid­er­a­tions for the na­tional par­ties to ig­nore. This laid the foun­da­tion for the two ma­jor

YOUNG IN­DIA Rahul Gandhi with Akhilesh Ya­dav and Jy­oti­ra­ditya Scin­dia

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