DC Edit | An opportunity for INDIA to be effective Opposition

The decision of the INDIA bloc with 232 members in the 18th Lok Sabha not to stake claim to form government through underhand deals goes well with the spirit of democracy, and is hence welcome. The Opposition bloc has indeed failed to muster the numbers needed to have a go at power, but it can take justifiable pride in the substantial advances it has made in its paramount mission to save the Constitution and democratic institutions in this country by propelling itself as a formidable force in the lower house of Parliament.

The INDIA bloc’s good showing in the elections has many reasons, but the fact that it has created its own narrative for the national elections around the real life issues of the people such as unemployment, inflation, rural distress, reservation for backward classes and farmer issues comes up at the top.

Most topics on the INDIA agenda resonated with the people in the country — unemployment has hit historical levels, Agnipath scheme sealed the opportunity for lakhs of youth to have an honourable job and a decent career, while question paper leaks cast a shadow on governmental efforts. The people felt the Opposition leaders were taking up their causes when they talked about the other issues, too. As a result, the INDIA bloc has almost doubled its numbers compared with that in the previous House.

The NDA’s campaign, led by no lesser than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took a turn for the worse after the second phase of the poll with brazen communal statements filling the air, seeking to polarise voters on religious basis by alienating a section of the voters. Appeal to the Hindutva agenda returned with extra force, too.

The absence of the INDIA leaders, especially of the Congress, was referred to by senior BJP leaders repeatedly, cursing them with the wrath of the Hindu faithful. The Congress, however, refused to be drawn into the debate and held its position and talked politics. The strategy paid back handsomely.

The reverses the Congress suffered in the Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland helped the party approach the political situation from a realistic point of view, and not from a pedestal. It resulted in better coordination with the other partners. The thumping victory the bloc managed in Uttar Pradesh proved how important trustworthiness and pragmatism are in politics.

The alliance, however, missed certain opportunities that had been offered to it on the platter. The Congress-AAP alliance in Delhi was one such. It was capable of mounting a challenge to the BJP, especially after the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. However, the leadership of both the parties in the state failed to recognise its relevance and the one-upmanship proved a disaster for the alliance. A different result in Delhi would have changed the outcome of the national election substantially.

The people have now given the INDIA bloc an opportunity to work as a responsible Opposition, supporting the government in matters of national concern while resisting its undemocratic, unilateral moves. A period in Opposition after fighting an election together could also make INDIA bloc a more cohesive unit capable of coming up with a solid alternative to be presented before the people. It is up to it to decide how to make the most of the opportunity.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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