Battle lines for 2019

The battle lines for the 2019 general elections are being drawn. The first indications are that an all-in unity of the opposition parties to take on the ruling BJP, is not going to be realized. The decision of Mayawati and Akhliesh Yadav to form an alliance keeping the Congress out of it in UP will mean a triangular contest because the Congress will certainly not be satisfied with the two seats of Amethi and Rae Barelly that the Maya-Akhil duo has condescended to leave for the Congress. The Left, which still has considerable presence in some areas of the country have yet to make up their mind as to whether or not they are going to be a part of the Congress-led alliance. KCR of Telangana has made it clear that he is trying to float another – Federal or whatever. Naveen Patnaik of Odisha is also not enamoured of the idea of joining an anti-BJP front. He wants to play a lone hand in his home State.
This is not a good sign for those who want the undemocratic rule of the present dispensation to be defeated decisively and a democratic and secular government elected to power. There is no denying the fact that the protagonists of majoritarian rule and  Hinduization of the polity are determined to perpetuate their rule by any means. It is only a the unity of the political parties which subscribe to the values enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution that  can take on the ruling party, their unity based on a common minimum programme. A fragmentation of votes between the Congress and its allies like the NCP on the one hand and strong regional parties in states like UP on the other will only help the BJP.
In the North-East which had recently seen a resurgence of the BJP in State after State, the NRC and the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act has thrown the BJP on the back foot. The AGP has come out of the NEDA and the Assam Government led by Sarbananda Sonowal. Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, has broken with the BJP. Other North-Eastern States are also dead against the amendment of the Citizenship Act. A comprehensive unity of the opposition parties is the need of the hour. The regional parties should realize that no viable and workable gathbandhan or mahagathbandhan of the opposition parties that can command the confidence of the people is possible by leaving the Congress out of it. The sooner they understand it the better will be the prospect of opposition unity.

Saturday, 12 January, 2019