Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
Feb 04, 2019, 12.12 PM
With just months away for the Lok Sabha elections, the opposition is not leaving any stone unturned to consolidate power into its hands.
Besides the frequent showcase of the "United Front" on several occasions, the parties have been involved in evolving arithmetic to keep the "Modi-Shah might" out of power.
Days before the arch-rivals BSP-SP joined hands and entered into a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. The two parties decided to fight elections on an equal number of seats leaving the two Congress bastion.
Exhibiting another showcase of unity, around 25 leaders from over 20 political parties held out a "united rally" in Kolkata on January 19.
Led by Mamata Banerjee the rally was attended by leaders from across the country. The "United Front" saw the presence of Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah from the National Conference, HD Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy from the JD(S), TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu, DMK's MK Stalin, AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and many others including Mallikarjun Kharge from the Congress. Former NDA stalwart Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, and BJP rebel Shatrughan Sinha also participated in the event along with NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani.
Joining hands on the dais the opposition hit out at the Modi government over demonetisation, GST, Rafale deal and the alleged "rising intolerance" in the country.
The "United opposition" against the current government shows a repeat of the opposition unity of 1977 which had successfully dethroned the first ever Congress government out of power. Fighting under the slogan "Indira hatao, deshbachao", the opposition had defeated Indira Gandhi and formed the first ever non-Congress government in India in 1977.
Morarji Desai who became the fourth prime minister of the country, however, could not complete his tenure in the office. His government had to end its term midway due to the unsuccessful coalition.
The next government formed under the leadership of Charan Singh also held an unsuccessful term in the office due to the rising conflict in the coalition. Singh could not complete his term after Indira Gandhi led Congress government suspended its support.
The country could never have a successful coalition government until 1998. The first ever non-Congress and coalition government that completed its full term in the country was headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Prior to Vajpayee's government, HD Deve Gowda, the eleventh prime minister of the country, also held an unsuccessful term and was removed from power within a year. Deve Gowda, the kingmaker of the 1996 general elections played a significant role in the formation of the government by extending support to the Congress party which had secured the second highest votes in the elections. BJP which won the highest votes remained out of power and was the main opposition in the parliament.
The current political situation of the country also foresees the rise of yet another Deve Gowda. While the entire opposition is fighting the 2019 elections against the BJP, the country may see the emergence of a new Deve Gowda if the results throw a hung assembly after the Lok Sabha polls.
Mamata Banerjee's slogan in the rally was "Badal do, Badal do, Dilli mei sarkar badal do". The front, however, does not have a prime ministerial face to replace the "Sarkar in Dilli".
While the BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh has clarified that the next prime minister of the country will be from UP, Mamata Banerjee is also seen as a strong contender to lead the Front in the next Lok Sabha.
Playing a masterstroke just days before the elections, the Congress appointed Priyanka Gandhi as the party general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East. The move is seen as an answer to rival parties' constant questioning of Rahul Gandhi's calibre in representing the party.
Thus while the opposition has united against the common power, keeping aside its ideological differences, the absence of strong leadership in the Front may affect the coalition even after its victory.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)