On a confrontation course

As the presidential poll comes nearer, the ruling BJP and the combined opposition are on a confrontation course. As the opposition parties are busy finding a name which will be acceptable to all, the ruling party has already delivered its first salvo against the opposition by targeting its prominent leaders. The raids on the offices of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav have made former Bihar Minister and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav have made the ruling party’s intentions clear.
The supposed corrupt acts were committed long ago. But the Centre decided to unleash a series of raids against them only on the eve of the presidential poll. The advantage of such a course of action is that the trial of such cases goes on for years before the verdict is pronounced but during the pendency of the trial the politicians stand accused of wrong-doing. Not all of them may be known for probity in public life but it is not their probity which is the cause of action against them. It is their politics which makes them targets of the ruling party. Allegations of taking kickbacks were levelled against Rajiv Gandhi but these could never be brought home to him.
The opposition parties may eventually agree on a common presidential nominee, but it is doubtful if they will be able to present a common programme of governance if they win the 2019 general elections. The BJP is an organized party. Its parent, the BJP, has many associated organizations which will work for the BJP. It also commands immensely more resources than the combined opposition has. For the opposition to take on the BJP it will first have to inspire the confidence of the people that they will stick together and provide a stable government that can deliver.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has undoubtedly acquired a strong and charismatic persona that the opposition will have to contend with.
A credible unity of the opposition parties will demand that the leaders sink their differences and avoid conflicts of personality. Some recent events have raised question about the personal equation between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally Lalu Prasad Yadav. It is such things rather than the propaganda of the ruling party which influence public opinion. The opposition parties will have to cross many hurdles before they can earn the confidence of the people and take on the ruling party.

Friday, 19 May, 2017