THE OP­PO­SI­TION DILEMMA

Alive - - Editorial -

Though the BJP is on the way down, the op­po­si­tion is not yet ready to form a work­able ma­jor­ity to re­place it. There are two main rea­sons for it. (1) The only all In­dia party in the op­po­si­tion is the Congress that has be­come weaker than ever be­fore (2) The re­gional par­ties, some of which are in power in states, have their in­di­vid­ual agenda and are not ready to shed their iden­tity to come to a com­mon plat­form.

As for the Congress, its main weak­ness is its cling­ing to the dy­nasty. The present in­her­i­tor, Congress Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi, is no Indira Gandhi who had the courage and tenac­ity that has be­come his­tory. She split Pak­istan into two to dis­prove that re­li­gion can­not be the ba­sis of the na­tion and blocked the for­ma­tion of Khal­is­tan out of Pun­jab by strik­ing at the very heart of its nu­cleus in Am­rit­sar. Her son Ra­jiv Gandhi had nei­ther the ex­pe­ri­ence nor the time to keep the party's stature as he was killed by Sri Lankan ter­ror­ists. The vac­uum had to be filled by his re­luc­tant Ital­ian wife who showed clev­er­ness not to be­come Prime Min­is­ter but vir­tu­ally was by nom­i­nat­ing her choice, the silent Man­mo­han Singh. Cor­rup­tion as an out­come of coali­tion com­pul­sions cost the gov­ern­ment when the BJP came to power with an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity in 2014 led by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. To­day the all-In­dia op­po­si­tion, the Congress, is only its orig­i­nal shadow and has to grow into sub­stance to re­take power.

How­ever that hope is dim for Congress un­der the pres­i­dentship of Rahul Gandhi. He has yet to prove his con­sis­tency in lead­er­ship though has shown spurts of dy­namism as in the Gu­jarat and Kar­nataka state elec­tions which brought pos­i­tive re­sults. The real power in the Congress still is with the ail­ing So­nia Gandhi and she, in her ea­ger­ness to main­tain the dy­nas­tic con­ti­nu­ity, is not al­low­ing bet­ter young lead­ers to come to the front to lead the party. Whether Rahul will be able to carry out the con­sol­i­da­tion of op­po­si­tion within a year left to the Gen­eral elec­tions has to be seen.

As for the other op­po­si­tion par­ties, though they are pow­er­ful in their own states, they have no all-In­dia stature. As of now, they are a force that can de­feat Modi's BJP if they unite. Will they be able to shed their re­gion­al­ism for the sake of na­tional goals such as sec­u­lar­ism and the spirit of the Con­sti­tu­tion?

The con­tention that the pre­vent op­po­si­tion par­ties can form a coali­tion af­ter the elec­tions may not work, though it could in Kar­nataka. But even in that state, if there was a pre-poll coali­tion, all the sus­pense dur­ing the for­ma­tion of the Congress-JDS gov­ern­ment could have been avoided. So, the way for op­po­si­tion suc­cess is to have a com­mon agenda and a com­mon can­di­date.

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