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Can a Mahagathbandhan be formed to counter Narendra Modi-led BJP at the national level?
Post MCD election results of Delhi, a get together was organised of a few non-BJP opposition party leaders at Sonia Gandhi's residence officially called as a tea-party.

Many media channels started speculating that there could a possibility of formation of a Mahagathbandhan at the national level to stop the Modi juggernaut as the BJP under Modi's leadership is on a rampage, decimating opposition parties from Panchayat to Parliament level in almost every state.

Many so-called intellectuals started saying that this is a dangerous situation in a democracy like India as it appears that Modi-led BJP is dislodging all opposing political parties one by one and without a strong opposition, democracies always transform in to a dictatorship.

Personally, I agree to this logic partially because in the absence of a credible and strong opposition, no democracy can sustain even if it's headed by a committed leader like Narendra Modi. When a premier starts thinking that none is there to oppose his policies, then knowingly or unknowingly, one starts acting like a dictator. However, I don't agree that the BJP is decimating opposition parties in the elections, rather I believe that the opposition is biting dust in election after election because of negative politics.

After every election, there is some talk for a combined opposition but after some days, another election comes and some opportunistic alliance takes place at the state level and eventually the BJP wins the mandate.

In Karnataka, Congress is facing anti-incumbency and BJP's win is almost inevitable. Those who think that the results of bye-elections in Karnataka should be an indication of upcoming Assembly election there, should realise that bye-elections always favour to ruling party or a relative of a seating deceased candidate. Assembly election is altogether a different ball game.

In Gujarat, the main opposition party is Congress and I don't think it has any strength to defeat BJP there despite more than 25 years of anti-incumbency of BJP. Furthermore, Gujarat is also the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his bastion. Besides, the Gujarati pride factor will work to smoothen BJP's continual power up to 2022.

Now, the point is whether a true and workable Mahagathbandhan can be formed at the national level to challenge BJP at least in the 2019 general election! I think there should be a credible alternative to Modi-led BJP for public to choose between. But can there be such an alternative?

To be a credible alternative, there must be three conditions fulfilled. Let me elaborate in detail all those three points.

First, there should be one credible leader under whose leadership all opposition parties must unite.

Who could be the alternative leader?

I don't think Rahul Gandhi has the necessary credentials or leadership skills to be accepted as pan India alternative leader to Narendra Modi. Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Navin Patnaik, Mulayam Singh Yadav are leaders whose political influence is confined and limited to their respective states. Thus, none of them can lead a united opposition. Only possible universally acceptable leader that comes to my mind is Sonia Gandhi. It must not be forgotten that she revived back Congress almost from the brink. But her health is an issue and it appears that she is on the verge for retirement. Thus, for an effective Mahagathabandhan, the opposition parties need to find a true leader first.

The next condition is that there must be a seamless bonding/integration between all the opposition parties. History proves that JP finally made the Janata Party by merging different political parties/ideologies in to one party because that was the only alternative to achieve a seamless integration of all anti-Congress parties/ideologies. It's another matter that after two and half year Janata party disintegrated post JP's demise.

BJP is a product from the disintegrated Janata Party which has now became the largest global political party. I don't think there is any possibility of a new party forming by the merging of many opposition parties.

Further, there're regional political compulsions too. Can the Left, TMC and Congress unite in West Bengal? I don't think so, because TMC will not commit a political suicide in leaving sizable seats to the Left and Congress in a state TMC alone can fight against rest of the parties. The same thing applies to BJD in Orissa or Mulayam Singh/Mayawati in UP.

What would be the situation in Kerala? Will the UDF and LDF contest 2019 election by sharing seats? Readers are intelligent enough to realise why this condition does not appear to be possible.

The third and most important condition is to offer a credible counter narrative to match with the narrative of Narendra Modi. The opposition just for opposition sake, indulge in negative politics by preventing the Parliament from functioning, organising street protests, strikes, hartals etc, which irks the public.

Is there any chance of a Mahagathbandhan forming if these three prerequisites are met? I may be wrong, but I don't think it's possible at least till the 2019 general election. Thus, Modi appears to be all geared up for the 2024 general election.

I would suggest to the opposition parties that instead of trying for a meaningless Mahagathbandhan, they should rather concentrate on local/state level politics to contest against the BJP mustering whatever influence/power/goodwill they have. They shouldn't go national because that will be a disaster.

Should we conclude that there can't be a true Mahagathbandhan against Narendra Modi? I am an eternal optimist. I became even more optimistic when I read Arvind Kejriwal's tweet congratulating BJP for Delhi MCD win and promising to work together for Delhi. That's called positive politics. If Arvind Kejriwal can amend himself, even he can become a true alternative to Modi by 2024 subject to the condition that he doesn't commit further mistakes running after unrealistic ambitions. 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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