Editorial

Friends in need: On BJP and Opposition unity

Talk of any political realignment is unseasonal, considering the fact that the next general election is due only in 2024 and the BJP is entrenched in the government. A gathering of political leaders, activists and scholars convened by Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday, however, was preceded by a lot of speculation about the emergence of a ‘third’ front, opposed to the BJP and sidelining the Congress. The Rashtra Manch is not intended to be a third front according to its organisers, but that does not mean the end of an exploratory politics ahead of 2024. In fact, most parties have reasons to think and act towards a new alternative to the BJP. For one, serial governance failures and missteps have made the current moment the most vulnerable for the BJP since 2014. The Congress does challenge the BJP at an ideational level, but the electoral victories over it in recent months were by regional parties such as the TMC, the DMK and the Left. While Rahul Gandhi has a principled position against the BJP, his vacillating role within the party and reluctance to play the power politics make the Congress an uninspiring leader for other anti-BJP parties. The role being played by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar makes the current attempt for a new platform vigorous. He has the dexterity, heft and the network to lead it.

That said, there is not an easy path for this nascent platform, assuming that it has ambitions beyond being a debating society. At 80, age is not on Mr. Pawar’s side. Without an active role for the Congress, no political formation can be viable against the BJP. That role, and the terms of engagement between the Congress and other smaller parties remain open questions. Even among the parties that participated in the meeting — SP, NCP, AAP, CPI(M), CPI, National Conference, Trinamool Congress — enthusiasm is muted, though they sent representatives. Mr. Pawar himself is conscious of the pitfalls. Several of these parties are adversaries of one another in States. All non-BJP parties are not opening up to the idea, at least for now. The TRS, YSRCP and BJD, in power in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, respectively, have a guarded approach towards national politics. All these factors make the emergence of a robust opposition to the BJP onerous. Politics is often shaped by circumstances. The BJP’s unchallenged power in the last seven years has built tensions that need to be resolved through democratic processes. The recent Assembly election outcomes were a reminder that parties staunchly opposed to the BJP remain popular in States. Harnessing a national politics from such disparate trends is a challenge before the opponents of the BJP.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 6:25:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/friends-in-need-the-hindu-editorial-on-bjp-and-opposition-unity/article34939660.ece

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