NEW DELHI: The formation of JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka seemed to have paved the way for the Opposition parties coming together to try and halt the Modi-Amit Shah juggernaut ahead of 2019 polls. There were concerns in the saffron camp as the development could possibly be the beginning of a broad-based anti-BJP platform, which they felt "does not augur well for the party." It was pointed out that despite the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi being the prime vote catcher for the party, the Gujarat election results have indicated that his "charisma was not enough to take on an united Opposition."
Even as the BJP managed to cross the 100 mark in Karnataka, piggybacking on Modi, numbers were "not enough" to form government on its own. It was further pointed out that coming together of SP-BSP during the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-poll disloged the BJP from the UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath's bastion after nearly two decades. "BJP does well in a multi-cornered fight. An united Opposition could be a tricky situation," a senior saffron functionary observed.
While the Union home minister, Mr Rajnath Singh "congratulated" Kumaraswamy, the BJP described the coming together of the Opposition parties as a "celebration of corruption". The BJP boycotted the ceremony and observed a "black day". The party held statewide protests against the new coalition government. For the saffronites the JD(S)-Congress was an "unholy alliance".
BUT JUST A FACADE
Despite the apparent bonhomie and show of strength there are cracks in the united colours of Opposition. Two Opposition chief ministers, K Chandrasekhara Rao (Telangana) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) decided to remain absent from the power play. These chief ministers apparently stuck to their stand of maintaining an equi-distance from both Congress and BJP. However, the Congress' tactical move to join hands with the JD(S) not only augurs well for the Opposition unity it also gives a clear signal that Rahul Gandhi in his bid to keep the BJP from returning to power was willing to let his outfit play a supporting role.
Besides the formation of an anti-BJP front, the Karnataka Assembly results indicated the rise of the regional parties and that they could play a crucial role during the 2019 general elections. With regard to Telengana and Odisha chief ministers, who had so far refused to join the Opposition bandwagon, sources revealed that their stances could change during the 2019 elections. For Naveen Patnaik, his opposition to Congress at this juncture "is state specific." These two parties could possibly be seen throwing their weight behind a "secular formation" in a post poll scenario," sources said.