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General election 2019: Where is the united opposition?
For last two years and especially after BJP's defeat in three Hindi heartland states namely MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, there was euphoria of a united opposition, Mahagthbandhan etc.

In the rallies at Bengaluru, Kolkata and Delhi, lot of photos appeared of leaders of almost every opposition party standing together. Sane people knew that there were lot of contradictions among the opposition parties yet every opposition party was claiming that they were united on 'Modi Hatao'. They also cited the vulnerability of Modi and the BJP that their allies were deserting them.

It's been just a few of days that the elections were declared. But where is the so-called united opposition? In UP, the SP and the BSP accommodated the RLD but kept the Congress out of the Mahagathbandhan. BSP supremo in a written statement said that the BSP will not form a coalition with the Congress in any state. Mamata Banerjee has declared the names of TMC candidates for all the 42 constituencies in West Bengal clearly rejecting any coalition with the Congress. The Congress and the Left front are mulling for a tactical coalition because they are rivals in Kerala. Thus, even if there would be a coalition between the Left front and the Congress, it would be a secrete one although public will come know. In Maharashtra, Prakash Amebdkar's 'Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangha' in a statement said that it will not ally with the Congress. The possible coalition between the Congress and AAP has also collapsed.

In Bihar, the coalition math is not yet settled. The symptoms show that one or two constituents of the UPA may leave the coalition or if required the Congress will be out of the RJD-led coalition. In Karnataka despite lot of parleys, the coalition math between the Congress and JDS is still to be worked out. Same is the situation in Tamil Nadu. Although the number of seat distributions were finalised earlier but to accommodate some new local parties the DMK has asked the Congress to leave some seats. Thus, the negotiation is still on. In Andhra Pradesh more likely, the TDP will contest alone. Same is the situation in Telangana.

Now let us see the coalition status of the NDA. In Maharashtra despite previous bitterness, the BJP was able to bring back the Shiv Sena. In Northeast it was again able to bring back all the allies including the AGP which had parted ways due to opposition against the Citizen Amendment Bill. In Bihar its coalition is even stronger with bringing JD(U) into the NDA fold. In Tamil Nadu it brought AIADMK in to the NDA fold. Both AIADMK and JD(U) were not part of the NDA in the 2014 general election. In UP, although there are some negotiation going on with the Apana Dal and 'Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party' but indications are that both will remain in the NDA. Apart from that Nishad Party and some other smaller parties too are keen to join NDA.

So the bottom line is not only will the NDA remain intact, it will also add more allies, whereas the so-called united opposition is scattered widely and contesting against each other.

The BJP has shown extraordinary flexibility in accommodating allies despite having won 282 seats on its own in the 2014 general election. On the other hand the Congress which had won just 44 seats in 2014 has been demanding a lion's share from its regional allies. Opposing to the BJP and Narendra Modi is alright, but which sane regional party will make way for the Congress just because its prince wants to be the Prime Minister?

I think that the Congress needs to learn 'the art of making a credible coalition'. Then only the Congress can do something, that too in 2024 general election because 2019 election is surely a lost opportunity for them.

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 In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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