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In the aftermath of Karnataka state government formation, the way has opened up for forming a solid platform of the non-BJP parties who do not want the saffrons to take over power again in the coming Lok Sabha poll. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a leader with determination and he is committed to the transformation of India to a Hindu Rashtra by 2022 from its present secular character under the Constitution. An analysis, for Different Truths.
After the formation of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka on May 23 defeating all the machinations of the BJP, the way has opened up for forming a solid platform of the non-BJP parties who do not want the saffrons to take over power again in the coming Lok Sabha poll. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a leader with determination and he is committed to the transformation of India to a Hindu Rashtra by 2022 from its present secular character under the Constitution and for that also the Sangh Parivar will be doing all that is necessary to stage a come back to power at the centre through the coming general elections.
Even though most of the opposition leaders attended the oath taking ceremony on Wednesday by the JD(S) chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and expressed their intention to collaborate against the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha poll, the task is quite difficult and both the Congress and the regional parties have to work out an understanding based on what can be practically achieved at the ground level for defeating the BJP candidates nationally. The West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has floated the strategy of one for one-meaning one opposition candidate against the BJP in all states. This is most desirable and if it can take place, that will mean the decimation of the present BJP strength of 282 to less than 100 in the next Lok Sabha poll.
But this is an objective that may not be fully implemented taking into account the ground reality n the states where the regional parties are very active as also the Congress. There are some states where the Congress is the major contestant against the BJP. The task is easier in these states for the opposition parties but in the states where the regional parties are ruling and the Congress is also trying to emerge stronger, the problems will arise in crafting the anti-BJP strategy and the perfect solution will require statesmanship from both sides.
On May 28, a large number of by-elections are being held in different states but the most important by-election for the Lok Sabha is at Kairana of Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP’s late Lok Sabha member Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh is contesting against the combined opposition candidate Tabassum Hasan, standing on Ajit Singh’s RLD ticket but backed by the BSP, SP, the Congress, and the Nishad Party. What is significant is that the cadres of all the opposition parties have been mobilised in a big way and they have been working to achieve the mission of defeating BJP in this stronghold where the earlier candidate won by more than 2.3 lakh votes in 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Kairana is an ideal model of opposition unity but this can not be replicated in many states. For instance, as a part of the opposition unity strategy, in the next round of state assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, the Congress is the major party against the BJP and the Congress leadership is making all efforts to galvanise the cadres in the campaign. The BSP and the SP have some base in these states. The strength of these two parties may be small but an understanding with both BSP and SP can be of immense help in defeating BJP candidates. Similarly, the CPI has bases in MP and Chhattisgarh while the CPI(M) has some pockets in Rajasthan. Both these left parties can have some understanding with the Congress and the other two opposition parties to ensure that the anti-BJP votes are not divided.
In the southern states, in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the TDP and the TRS are the ruling parties. The Congress will try to stage a comeback but with the objective of keeping BJP out, some understanding can be held in some seats where the BJP is in a stronger position and this limited understanding will help in defeating BJP. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK is the main anti-BJP party and the DMK leader M K Stalin will coordinate the anti-BJP strategy by taking the Congress and the Left with his party. In Kerala, the Congress and the CPI(M) led Left front will be fighting as usual but on the national plane, they will cooperate against the BJP in order to keep the saffrons out from power at the centre.
In Odisha and West Bengal, the BJD and the Trinamool Congress are the ruling parties and they will be the major parties fighting the BJP. These parties will decide whether the Congress can be accommodated by them to some extent. The Congress is not the deciding factor in these two states. In Bihar, the RJD led by Lalu Yadav is the prime force against the BJP and it will have an alliance with the Congress, the rebel JD(U) led by Sharad Yadav and the left, especially the CPI and the CPI(ML). The CPI has expanded its base in Bihar and the young student leader Kanhaiya Kumar can be a potential candidate for the coming Lok Sabha poll. This front is expected to do extremely well in the coming elections as the chief minister Nitish Kumar has lost his image and he is seen as an opportunist.
The Congress has to rejig its strategy in the northeastern states and it has to establish its links with the regional parties of the NE many of whom have been disenchanted with the BJP by now. In Assam, the Congress has to have ties with the AUDF as also explore possibilities of understanding with the left parties which have some bases in the state. The Congress can have an understanding with the CPI in Manipur also. In Maharashtra, the Congress-NCP alliance has been revived and it can be expanded by having some understanding with the Left. In Gujarat, the Congress can work on the gains achieved in the last assembly elections and can try to have some understanding with the BSP which have pockets of influence.
In sum, the prime objective is to avoid the division of anti-BJP votes and with this in view, the strategy has to be formulated in the states taking into account the ground situation. The bonhomie which was evident at the swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru on Wednesday has to be followed up by a spirit of accommodation in the coming days while discussing the seat-sharing formula among the opposition parties including the Congress. Even if the pre-poll adjustments are achieved at 60 percent of the seats, that will have a big impact on the Lok Sabha poll and finally, in the post-poll scenario, the discussions can start for a non-BJP government based on the results of the poll. In both 1996 and in 2004, the non-BJP governments were formed after forming the post-poll alliance.
The moot issue is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not invincible and the stage has been set for his defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The opposition parties, especially the Congress have to move in the coming months before the poll with right perspective and spirit of accommodation so that the prime objective of making the Centre BJP mukt is achieved after the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Photo from the Internet