Lalu Prasad’s show of strength

If the size of the crowd is anything to by, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Sunday rally at Patna Gandhi Maidan was a resounding success with most first-rank opposition leaders attending it. Sonia, Rahul and Mayavati were three prominent absentees at the meeting but that in no way detracted from the importance of the rally. Next to Lalu the person who, expectedly, drew the loudest cheers from the crowd was West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has emerged as the most uncompromising crusader against BJP. The Sunday meeting also pointed to another significant fact, namely, that the leadership of the two Yadav parties is passing into the hands of the next generation. Lalu is passing on his baton to his son Tejaswi Prasad who was the deputy chief minister in Nitish Kumar’s Government, while Akhliesh Yadav is replacing his father as the leader of the Samajvadi Party.
The success of the Sunday rally, however, does not automatically mean that most if not all the opposition parties will be able to present a solid, united phalanx to the BJP in 2019. There are many hurdles to be overcome, personal ego being a major one. To emerge as a credible alternative to the BJP, the opposition parties will have to convince the people that they are able to subordinate their petty party and personal interests to the larger national interests. The people of this country have seen umpteen number of coalition governments at the Centre and in the States being formed only to disintegrate in no time. To take on and defeat a powerful party like the BJP, backed by the entire Sangh Parivar, the basic thing that a united opposition needs is to make the people believe that they will stick together and give a far better government than the present one.
People’s discontent with the present regime is becoming manifest in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and right in the national capital Delhi. The Aam Admi Party which has been in the target of relentless attack of the BJP ever since it came to power for the second time in Delhi, has just won the Bawana by-poll by defeating the BJP with a margin of over 24,052 votes. The AAP polled 59,886 votes, the BJP came second with 35,834 votes while the Congress came a close third with 31,919 votes. The people will not fail the opposition leaders if they feel sure that the leaders will not fail them.

Tuesday, 29 August, 2017