Fault-lines in the Opposition camp

The Karnataka Assembly drama had the expected denouement. BJP’s Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa preferred to resign rather than face the trust vote. BJP legislators preferred to stage a walk out rather than take part in the trust vote for H. D. Kumaraswamy. Both proved that the BJP had conceded defeat because it does not have the majority in the House. But what should worry the Opposition leaders at the moment of victory is that already fault-lines have started appearing in the opposition camp. In Madhya Pradesh, it is the Congress which will have to take on the BJP. But the Samajwadi Party has already announced unilaterally that it would contest all the Assembly seats. In Karnataka, Kumaraswamy has asserted that he will be the Chief Minister for full five years and not for half the term, leaving the second half to the Congress. The Congress says no such decision has been taken. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the present Deputy Chief Minister Parameshwara have openly said they cannot say whether the alliance will last full five years.
If the Karnataka experiment fails before the general elections next year, not only will it make opposition unity more difficult but, which is more important, people will become sceptical of a ragtag opposition’s ability to dethrone the NDA Government and provide a stable alternative government at the Centre. The only way to cement the unity of the opposition parties and enable them to rule the country is for the leaders of the constituent parties to understand the gravity of the situation, the need for working as a team and subordinating their personal ambitions to the attainment of a better and more inclusive government. Whether they will be able to rise to the occasion, future alone can say.
The people have suffered one trauma after the other in the last four years. Demonetization, introduction of the GST and now the rising fuel prices which threaten to send the entire economy into a tailspin, have brought privation on the people. To undo the damage done and to make the common people’s life tolerable, the opposition parties will have to think and discuss among themselves, right from now, the alternative programme and policies they will implement if they come to power.  Unity is a positive concept, not a negative one. It is the commitment to certain basic objectives that can hold together the opposition parties some of which are ideologically poles apart.

Saturday, 26 May, 2018