Opposition has to Follow State-Specific Electoral Strategy for 2019: Prevent Division of Anti-BJP Votes

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After the declaration of the by-election results in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the same BJP led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Amit Shah lie shattered, the saffron fort of Gorakhpur is lost. The combination of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party has done the miracle. Here’s a report, for Different Truths.

In politics, the situation changes very fast and one month is not a long period. For the ruling party BJP, only 11 days have passed since their victory in Tripura and successes in other two states on March 3 leading to the euphoria that the saffrons are invincible. And now after the declaration of the by-election results in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the same BJP led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Amit Shah lie shattered, the saffron fort of Gorakhpur is lost. The combination of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party has done the miracle.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has got the clear message that Indian polity is really federal and the people’s responses are also so. There is no party of natural governance. If the BJP has to be defeated at the 2019 Lok Sabha poll for the preparation of which Sonia Gandhi held the meeting of the 20 opposition parties on March 13, the Congress, as the leading party of the opposition has to recognize the reality that the regional parties will have to be given leading role in the states where they are leaders and posing challenge to the BJP. The Congress has already followed this model in Bihar in the last assembly elections and this can be expanded taking into account the positioning of the anti-BJP parties in the states.

In fact, the state-specific strategy has the full support of the Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee and this makes sense. This will make the task of opposition unity easier. In the last assembly elections, the anti-BJP opposition parties which fought against each other, have tested their respective strength, but in Lok Sabha elections, in the states where the BJP is the main Party, these secular opposition parties can work out a pragmatic arrangement for the division of seats by ensuring that there is no division of anti-BJP votes. This is a difficult task but it can be accomplished. If Akhilesh and Mayawati can joining hands in Uttar Pradesh by-elections to trounce the BJP, the stage is set and now, the opposition parties led by the Congress, RJD, Trinamool, NCP, and JD(U) should discuss in details the best ways to bring about this understanding.

Only last month, there was a big debate in the saffron camp about the desirability of advancing the Lok Sabha elections in 2018 – some BJP think tank even suggested that this should be held in May’/June 2018 along with the pending assembly elections since BJP’s fortunes are diving and the Prime Minister with some image still left, can salvage the situation if the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the remaining states, are held simultaneously. This feeling was intense after the BJP’s dismal performance in the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and now with the trouncing of the BJP in its bastion Uttar Pradesh, the murmurs are getting stronger and it will be no surprise if the Lok Sabha elections are held before November this year.

Despite the hype in the media and the propaganda by the government agencies, The BJP’s think tank who worked for the mission 272 in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is worried. Their latest study predicts that their 282 seats secured in 2014 Lok Sabha elections will be declining gradually and if the elections are held in December 2018, the BJP  will still be in a position to retain 217 seats. This may be less the majority but this will give BJP bargaining power to form a government by inducing others to form a coalition with 272 seats. But if the Lok Sabha elections are held in May 2019, the BJP seats will go down below 200 and then it will be impossible for BJP to bid for the government.

This analysis was done much before the results of the UP by-elections came out. So, the trends now indicate that it will not be impossible to bring down the BJP seats to less than 150 which is the reflection of the real strength of the BJP. This can be done if the leading opposition parties work with aggression and keenness to defeat the saffron forces in the Lok Sabha elections. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been talking of unity of secular forces against fascist elements. He has been aggressive against the RSS and BJP these days. That is a good sign. But the Congress has to function as one of the equals, though the Party will certainly lead in the anti-BJP battle in most of the states.

The state-specific strategy is simple. In both Bihar and Uttar Pradesh; the Congress has to be a part of the regional parties’ combination. In UP SP-BSP combine is the core of the anti-BJP front, the Congress can be the third party. It is possible for the anti-BJP combination to trounce the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections if the anti-BJP parties move unitedly and fight the elections as they did in Gorakhpur by-elections. The RJD will be the main party in Bihar. Congress will be the main party in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chattishgarh.BSP and the two left parties CPI and CPI(M) have got some bases in these states. The Left can have some understanding with the Congress in the three states in the Hindi heartland. In the states like West Bengal and Kerala, the situation is different. In Kerala, Congress will fight the CPI(M)  as before and in West Bengal, Left Front led by the CPI(M) will fight against both ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

There is every possibility now that the CPI(M) leadership will finally agree for an understanding with the Congress to defeat the BJP in the coming elections. It is of no use to talk of changing policies when the BJP with all the powers wielded by it due to its presence in the centre and the states, are making all efforts to expand its fascistic ideas. This BJP has to be removed from power and for that defeating the Party in both assembly and Lok Sabha elections is crucial. This cannot be done without the unity of anti-BJP forces including the Congress. The Congress under Rahul Gandhi is ready to collaborate with the Left to take on the BJP. The CPI has agreed, The CPI(M) also has to do the affirmative action at its Hyderabad Party Congress in April this year. It has thus to be three stage unity for the Left and democratic forces. First the unity of the left forces themselves, second the unity of the regional parties and this has to be followed by a firm understanding with the Congress on taking on the BJP. The opposition parties have scored in some of the recent battles, but the war in Lok Sabha elections has to be won to protect the ideals and values of the Indian nation and polity.

Nitya Chakraborty
©IPA Service 

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