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Analysis | With Gujarat RS polls coming up, it's back to business in politics

The Opposition still can't decide its course of action and just when it wants to make the transition from ‘virtual to actual’ politics.

As India negotiates its way out of four stages of nationwide lockdown, the first sign of ‘back to business’ style of politics came from Gujarat, which is among the top States battling the coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, two Congress legislators stepped down ahead of the June 19 Rajya Sabha elections and a third lawmaker followed suit on Friday. Of the four Rajya Sabha vacancies from Gujarat, the Congress was hoping to win two. But now, the elections have become wide open.

Also read: Rajya Sabha elections rescheduled for June 19

Congress complains

“India is in the midst of its independent history’s biggest health, economic and humanitarian crises. BJP, though, cannot think beyond putting all its energies in poaching legislators for RS polls, people be damned!” tweeted Rajeev Satav, All India Congress Committee in-charge of Gujarat.

Earlier too, the Congress had accused the BJP of delaying the announcement of the nationwide lockdown only to ensure the fall of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh when 22 MLAs resigned from the Assembly.

Also read: Congress fields Mallikarjun Kharge from Karnakata in Rajya Sabha polls

Subsequently, majority of the MLAs who had quit the Congress joined the BJP as the ruling party now starts preparation for the bye-elections.

“This is a political virus and it’s in the DNA of the BJP....We have seen this in Karnataka, in Uttarakhand,” remarked senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on the Gujarat development.

While the grand old party and other Opposition complain, the BJP has been quick to use a mix of old school and new forms of politics in a post-COVID world.

Also read: Rajya Sabha polls: Congress, JD(S) likely to come together once again

From digital rallies on the completion of one year of the Narendra Modi government 2.0 to kicking off digital campaign in Bihar where elections are supposed to take place later this year, the ruling party is planning ahead.

Opposition disarray

The Opposition, on the other hand, still can't decide its course of action and just when it wants to make the transition from ‘virtual to actual’ politics.

On May 22, at a meeting of Opposition leaders, when Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D Raja and veteran Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav suggested a symbolic but physical form of protest to highlight the Modi government failures with regard to protecting the rights of migrant workers, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi intervened.

Ms. Gandhi suggested that a committee be formed to work out a charter of common protest actions without violating the physical distancing norms.

Two weeks later, there is no sign of the Committee let alone a common charter of action.

"BJP-RSS combine is taking full advantage of the situation to carry forward their agenda. They want Parliament to be defunct and redundant. They are thinking that 'we have got the mandate and we can take all the decision',” Mr. Raja said.

The Communist leader also held the Congress responsible for not taking the lead.

“As the largest Opposition party, the Congress should have shown the political will to identify themselves with the people. But they seem to be happy with zoom conferences,” he added.

The Opposition parties, perhaps, would do well to remember that real politics lies in the real world even in the times of a pandemic.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 6:38:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/analysis-with-gujarat-rs-polls-bjp-back-to-politics-as-usual/article31758130.ece

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