DC Edit | Does I.N.D.I.A. bloc have a narrative for voters?

The I.N.D.I.A. bloc has gained some traction with its back-to-back rallies — the Jan Vishwas rally in Patna earlier this month and one in Mumbai on Sunday to mark the finale of the Bharat Nyay Jodo Yatra of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi — but it remains a question whether it is sufficient to sustain the Opposition campaign against a formidable electoral opponent till the end of an epic battle.

The voting for the 18th Lok Sabha will start on April 19, leaving exactly one month for the parties and their formations to convince the voters why they should vote for them. A minimum of cohesive and comprehensive action plan and a modicum of unity of purpose are the essential ingredients for them to approach the people.

After losing precious time fighting the Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland, the Congress, by far the leading contingent in the Opposition bandwagon, got back on the track in December. By then, two of the leading partners, Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamul Congress, chief ministers of two states that together send 82 members to the Lok Sabha, had started showing signs of disenchantment with the INDIA bloc. Mr Kumar has left the grouping while Ms Banerjee has for all practical purposes ended the bonhomie with the alliance partners.

The late realisation about the losing ground and diminishing time gap had the Congress swing into action and seat sharing talks gained momentum in January. Despite Mr Gandhi’s Yatra, the party stitched together alliances with major partners Samajwadi Party, the DMK, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the AAP. The alliance is still way off the mark with its professed aim to field a single candidate against the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remind the people about the disarray in the Opposition camp. While the Congress and the Left will fight each other in Kerala, the AAP will take on the Congress in Punjab, he pointed out.

Some kind of a friendly match is inevitable in such a grand exercise but what the INDIA bloc appears to be lacking seriously is a narrative to present before the people. The NDA has it all ready — the central welfare schemes for the large mass of people, India’s rise as the fifth largest economy, the consecration of the Ram temple, the CAA and the uniform civil code — the NDA platter is full, whatever its worth. And then it has Mr Modi, one of the pre-eminent communicators of our times, at the lead.

The Opposition has been talking of the injuries the BJP alliance has dealt to the Constitution and the values it espouses: federalism, secularism and the institutions of democracy. Every opposition leader in the country talks elaborately on how the BJP uses central agencies to hunt down their folks. The latest information on electoral bonds has triggered the criticism that the ruling party had been using it as a tool for extortion.

It is for the Opposition to decide if they want to pick the threads and weave them into a design that the people can read and appreciate. There is very little time left for the exercise.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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