Unity eludes Opposition parties on eve of state polls

Devsagar Singh

New Delhi, Nov 30: Unity still eludes the Opposition ranks  even though elections in five states, including UP, are round the corner. This became clear when  the Trinamool Congress MPs abstained from a meeting of Opposition leaders in Parliament called  yesterday by the Congress to discuss  the suspension of 12 of their colleagues in the Rajya Sabha. TMC has become over-ambitious to wrest national leadership of the opposition space. Clearly, this is not possible. The Congress party under Sonia Gandhi may be on the losing streak, but it still has a pan -India presence. How can it cede space to the TMC?

             While this will adversely affect floor coordination among the Opposition parties in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, it will indirectly impact the upcoming assembly elections as well.  This is the time the Opposition parties need to demonstrate unity in and out of Parliament to give a message to voters that they are together to take on the BJP. The party under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah is going full steam to retain power in UP, the most crucial state whose result will have  direct bearing on the 2024 national elections.

         Reports suggest that the party has deployed 175 key leaders from all sections, particularly OBC and Dalits, in UP  to win over a dozen constituencies the BJP lost with  less than 4000 votes in the last assembly poll. The PM and the HM  have already begun touring the state to galvanize BJP cadres. On the contrary, there is little sign of the Opposition parties  working together to take on the resurgent BJP.

       It is common refrain among the political class that the BJP’s  continuance in power beyond 2024 is  possible only if it retains UP in the coming assembly elections early next year. Even the BJP leaders do not dispute it. The Yogi Adityanath Government in the state has lost much ground in recent months as a result of the farmers’ agitation and several incidents of law and order. However,  there is no concerted efforts by the Opposition to encash the situation. Samajwadi Party under Akhilesh Yadav seems to have been left alone to fight the BJP juggernaut. TMC leader and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee  had  promised to descend in UP to help SP. There is no sign of it yet. The Congress party with its depleting clout seems to be going alone to contest maximum number of seats in the state. BSP is contesting the elections alone. Indeed, there is no sign of Opposition unity in  this most important state.

       As it seems right now, much of the Opposition’s  time and resources will be spent in countering the Modi Government in Parliament for almost a month. Soon, thereafter, there is likely to be notifications for the UP election. There will be very little time for the Opposition to strategize the upcoming polls. This is  precisely what the BJP wants.

          The election machinery of the BJP remains in top gear, thanks to devoted cadres of the RSS and other Hindutva outfits in UP. The Opposition  has failed to realize it thus far. Hopefully, it will be able to put its acts together once the formal announcement of the elections is made.

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