Opinion: Can united opposition take on BJP? History says otherwise

Written By: Pankaj Agrawal
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Jun 01, 2018, 11:08 PM(IST)

File photo of BJP. Photograph:( PTI )

Non-BJP parties are beaming after success in bypoll results on May 31, particularly on BJP's defeat in Kairana. All local satraps of non-BJP parties (or can we say a legion of aspiring PM candidates) are denouncing that this is beginning of end game for Modi and Shah.

The rhetoric is that united opposition would make sure that BJP is defeated in 2019. Somehow Congress is in the funniest situation. All the spokespersons of the party have been upbeat and smiling on all channels despite the fact Congress got nothing in this bypoll. When one TV anchor asked a very pertinent question to Congress last night "whether your objective in 2019 to win election or just to make sure that BJP is defeated?", Congress spokesperson was mumbling in response.

The bottomline is that despite results of Kairana and Gorakhpur/Phulpur earlier, the non-BJP federal front stands no merit. In the first place, against a formidable Modi/Shah duo, the united opposition will not have an easy task in hand. But even if they have a chance, it is not good for the nation in any way.

History tells this to us in an unequivocal manner.

There is a very unique paradox here. All these parties are coming together because of a looming existential crisis. There is an ultimate fear factor and let's call it XYZ factor. This  XYZ factor may keep these parties on a platform until the time of the election. Once they get political success (this is just an assumption though) this XYZ factor vanishes in no time. Since XYZ was the only binding factor, once it goes, in-fighting and split is imminent. Once in power, personal political agenda of each satrap will come to the fore and completely take over the XYZ factor. This phenomenon is in the very DNA of the mankind and cannot be denied.

In 1977, as soon as all leaders under JP were able to defeat Indira Gandhi and government was formed at the Centre, swords came out and all heavyweights started fighting with each other. It took just a couple of years for the government to fall.

In 1989, the drive to remove Rajiv and Congress was so strong that in an unprecedented move left (CPI/CPM) and right (BJP) came on a single platform to support VP Singh. VP Singh couldn't even complete one year at the office.

Take the latest example of Karnataka. In a haste to stop the BJP, Congress and JD(S) have come together but once in power, they are not even able to set ministers for different portfolios even after 10 days of getting a go ahead for forming the government.

But make no mistake. Even a united opposition is in no way in the position of 1977 and 1989. In 1977, there was nationwide anger against Indira Gandhi and in 1989 there was a clear resentment against Rajiv. Being astute statesmen, JP and VP Singh capitalised on the situation and built a strong narrative. This time united opposition neither have a unique politician (like JP and VP Singh) behind whom other can coalesce and at the top of it, Modi is still on a very strong pitch.

Bypoll results can be misleading. One political commentator made a very interesting comment. He said that Modi's direct involvement in any election in itself results in 2-3% vote swing in favour of BJP. So the real battle would be a different ball game.

In the end, the slogan "Modi hatao" cannot be the single point objective. Opposition parties need to set a convincing agenda and put up the same to voters. The Indian democracy and voters have matured over the years. Extrapolating Kairana's result to the whole nation in 2019 can, in fact, be fatal for the united opposition.

Modi and Shah are very much up for the challenge. There is one full year for the 2019 election and Amit Shah is shrewd enough to recalibrate his plans for this new challenge.

The attempt of united opposition to topple BJP is bound to fail and it is nothing more the repeat of failed experiments in the past.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

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