Can The Opposition Parties Really Unite?
All the big names that wanted opposition unity are in the dock. Be it Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, or Arvind Kejriwal – all of them are stupefied by the events that are unfolding; in fact involving them personally.
While the reason for this can be described as an effort to shatter the opposition unity by the BJP before the presidential elections, there seems to be a bigger plan behind this: 2019 general elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been on the winning spree, wants to continue the trend in the forthcoming assembly and finally in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Let us see how the parties in opposition are faring at the moment:
Though the Congress Party is doing its best to keep the house in order, the Delhi High Court orders regarding National Herald Case will certainly shake it. The Party President Sonia Gandhi is already ill, and Rahul Gandhi is a non-starter or non-performer to take the party ahead. On top of it, the senior leaders who are dissatisfied for being sidelined are searching for the greener pastures and some of them found them.
Besides this, the Grand Old Party doesn’t have the tradition of encouraging strong leaders at the regional level. They want the high command culture to continue. This is a big drawback that the party never wants to rectify.
Although, corruption charges are not new to Congress leaders and Gandhi family, this time it appears it would be difficult for them to come out of the mess. Due to a lack of strategy, the party might have to suffer till 2024.
To sum it up, it is possible that the BJP’s dream of Congress Mukt Bharat will be fulfilled if the party continues with its own ways and never changes.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD
The RJD, which appeared strong till yesterday, is in deep crisis at the moment. While the conversation between the murder convict Shahabuddin and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav telecasted by a TV channel shocked people, another scam involving his daughter Misa Bharati, who happens to be an MP, pushed the party into a deeper hole.
On the top of it, the Supreme Court this week set aside a Jharkhand High Court order and ruled that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader will have to stand separate trial in four fodder scam cases against him.
With these entire developments going against him, Lalu, who has been actively participating in the efforts to unite opposition parties, now went into complete silence. Even for a maverick like Lalu, it will take sometime to sort all these issues.
Meanwhile, the silence of JDU chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is also deafening. Will the Mahaghatbandhan stand this test is a million dollar question to everybody.
The Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP
The BSP Supremo Mayawati is not new to corruption allegations. There have been umpteen allegations against her, but she always pushed them aside and moved forward. Though the party was trounced in the recently held Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Mayawati tried to put up a brave face. She alleged the tampering of EVMs and also called for opposition unity, for which her rival party leader Akhilesh Yadav responded positively.
Now that is all past. Her most trusted party colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui leveled a fresh set of charges of corruption against Mayawati. Presently she can’t counter them as someone who was considered to be number two in the party released them.
The tapes released by Siddiqui consisted of conversations where Mayawati was asking him to arrange for money.
Siddiqui even threatened that he had 150 audio conversation tapes to expose the party supremo, Party General Secretary Satish Mishra and Anand Kumar (Mayawati’s brother) along with several other evidences like ‘Benami’ properties and other corrupt deeds.
Now, it is like the last straw that broke camel’s back for Mayawati, who is facing the end of road politically. With a heap of cases and new ones added by Siddiqui presently, Mayawati will have a lot to answer to the public if she wants to have a political career. Siddiqui’s allegations are set to haunt her for a long time.
The Trinamool Congress or TMC
It is a well-known fact that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee has been harboring dreams to dominate the national political scene. She was the first person who tried to unite the opposition parties after the demonetization, though unsuccessfully.
Although she is not tainted with any corruption charges, her party leaders who are reportedly involved in various scams are ruining her image.
The Narada sting, Saradha scam, and Rose-Valley scam — all of these scams involved the ministers, MPs and several other leaders of TMC. Though these scandals did not affect her party in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, there are chances that her leaders might take her down if the charges are proved.
All the cases were handed to CBI for a probe. A few prominent party leaders were arrested and several others were interrogated in these scandals.
Coming back to opposition unity and her prospects, nobody wants her to lead them. With their egos hurt, leaders are not yet ready for her lead. That was proved when she called opposition parties for a march in Delhi after demonetization.
Since her popularity is limited to West Bengal, it will be difficult for her to influence others.
The Aam Aadmi Party or AAP
The AAP, which was perceived to be led by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal has high dreams of expanding the base in various states and ultimately capturing the big post: ‘Pradhan Mantri.’
But with successive electoral defeats and charges of corruption and high profile exits, Kejriwal’s dreams seem to end at least for now. The defeats in Punjab, Goa assembly elections, and Delhi Municipal Corporation elections shocked the party and its leaders.
The most serious allegation was a corruption accusation by his former Cabinet colleague Kapil Mishra. The AAP Party went disarray after that and tried to divert the attention of the public from the issue.
Kejriwal also held almost a nautanki about EVM tampering in a specially arranged Delhi assembly session and proved that they can be tampered with. This is a serious allegation and undermines the institution of the Election Commission.
Now to protect its party and leaders, AAP needs to sober down and concentrate on keeping the party in order and fulfill what they have promised.
In this context, AAP can’t be seen as a great option for other opposition parties that which are already mired in their issues. Kejriwal might not go into political oblivion, but it will take him some time to regain the credibility he lost.
Janata Dal United or JDU
The case of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the moment appears curious. A person with a clean image, Nitish nursed the ambition of becoming prime minister.
Presently, though his alliance partner is facing serious corruption charges, he has not said a word about continuing or leaving the alliance. Even as the BJP indirectly offered support on a condition of leaving Lalu, Nitish did not flinch.
But the issue is, with all the major opposition parties in the news for corruption, how can he forge the unity amongst these parties with his clean image? Is he under the impression that with his clean image he would shine amidst the tainted leaders?
Nitish can only influence a few States where Kurmi population resides. Beyond that, he can’t have any impact. In this context, what is he going to do is the question. Will he sail with Lalu or befriend Modi?