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Jigsaws Galore

By   /  May 24, 2018  /  Comments Off on Jigsaws Galore

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Presence of host of opposition leaders in a swearing in ceremony does not necessarily mean formation of an alliance by the political parties. To form an alliance, the primary need is to draw a common minimum programme which will be abided by all its constituents. An alliance cannot be formed by merely opposing a certain political party. We saw what happened in 1977. Strongly opposing the dictatorial nature of the then Indira Gandhi government at the Centre and proclamation of emergency, opposition parties joined hands and formed the Janata Party. In the following general election, Janata Party successfully ended the Congress regime and formed government. That was the first time a non-Congress government was formed at the Centre. People of the country were happy to see an end of the Congress regime for the first time since Independence. But their jubilations were short lived. Soon, the Morarji Desai led government crumbled under its own weight. Mid-term elections were held and Congress returned to power. Similar thing happened in 1996 and 1998. In 1996, no party had majority in Lok Sabha. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got the first chance to form the government by virtue of being the single largest party. But it could not prove its majority of the floor of the house. Then all opposition parties came together and formed the government with outside support from the Congress. H. D. Devegowda became the Prime Minister. After some time, Congress decided to withdraw its support. After the fall of the Gowda government, another government was formed under the leadership of I. K. Gujral applying the same formula. But the Gujral government too could not complete its term as once again Congress spoiled the party. As a result of the opposition parties stitching together alliances, the country witnessed three general elections between 1996 and 1999.

So, no matter how many opposition leaders were there at the oath taking ceremony of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka, there is no certainty that all these parties will fight the upcoming general elections in 2019. For example, both Congress and CPM shared the stage at the swearing in. But what will happen in Kerala? Will these two parties put up joint candidates during the general elections in 2019? Definitely not; as the politics in that state is bipolar. In Kerala, Congress and the Left are the two main political opponents. Joining hands by the two parties will effectively mean that they are leaving the opposition space for the BJP. If that happens, it will be regarded as a political suicide by both the parties. So both the parties will have to fight each other. Take the case of West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress will gain much if the opposition parties in the state remain divided. Mamata joining hands with either Congress or the Left will mean more votes for the BJP. Can Mamata take such a risk? More, what will happen in states like Telangana and Andhara Pradesh? The writing is very much on the wall. Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), the ruling party in the state will not join hands with the Congress as its leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao skipped the Bangalore event even after expressing solidarity with the non-BJP government. In Andhra too, N. Chandrababu Naidu will not concede an inch of ground to the Congress. So the future of a coalition government at the Centre is known in advance when its constituents are fighting for supremacy in the states. All these puzzles have to be solved if the opposition parties really want to put up a united fight against the BJP.

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