The Mirage

The mirage called 'Opposition Unity' is so glaring that even diehard optimists in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA ) look reluctant to believe that they will be able to face the fascistic challenge posed by the saffron brigade any time soon. And the Congress Party's dynasty inheritor Rahul Gandhi frequently talks nonsense about Modi and politics they pursue only to make him a laughing stock before the electorate. Given the changed context Congress is not in a position to repeat the 2004 unity exercise. The meeting of like-minded opposition parties, loosely aligned with the grand old Indian National Congress, called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on January 13 to chalk out a joint strategy on the on-going protests, growing and developing, both horizontally and vertically somewhat spontaneously across the country, against National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the yet to be revealed in its totality National Population Register(NPR), was the hard news in January for all the wrong reasons. Some regional outfits with extra-regional ambition to influence the central decision making process didn't join the so-called Congress summit as they were weighing the options before choosing the boat and, tactfully abstained. No doubt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may derive comfort from Sonia Gandhi's failed attempt to present a unified face of opposition to saffron onslaught. For one thing the DMK and Shiv Sena's absence was mystifying, if not intriguing. But all these parties have rejected CAA, NRIC and NPR in principle. For them ideology does hardly matter, what matters is parliamentary privilege.

True, Sonia Gandhi had pulled off a similar feat of united opposition in 2004 when she had personally approached opposition parties and UPA came into being with some 'hope'. And the left's participation in UPA was very positive as they succeeded in floating a common minimum programme. They were in power for two consecutive terms.

But 2020 is not 2004. Much has changed since then. BJP is more powerful than ever before and corporates are still solidly behind Modi and his clan. Sonia Gandhi is carrying some extra burden as to how to protect their dynasty or how to establish Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in the saddle. Unlike in 2004 it is really difficult for Sonia Gandhi's Congress to play the leadership role in united opposition.

They may not admit it. But it matters little in the field. For all practical purposes Congress party is a pale shadow of its old self today. In most cases regional parties have no intention to play the second fiddle to Congress as the Nehruvian party lacks any positive goal, other than parliament, to reach.

Democracy in the Indian context is just a game of numbers. They always think over permutations and combinations and 'donkey trading'. What matters most at this juncture is mass mobilisation against all-out fascist onslaught of BJP. People's power is the only answer to saffron aggression but that is not on the agenda of Congress Party. BJP is basically implementing those policies that remained unimple-mented during the Congress rule.

While training his gun on both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Rahul Gandhi the other day charged that they—Modi and Kejriwal—were not interested in providing jobs to youths but were keen on making one Indian fight another to stay in power. Who stopped the Gandhis to create jobs when they were in power? That the Modi government is trying to divide the country into two religious entities is a fact of life. This divisive policy is the core issue on which the BJP thrives. After every Hindu-Muslim riot the BJP gains electorally—politics of hatred pays dividend. The country is heading towards a humanitarian disaster unless NRIC, CAA and NPR are shelved or revised to make them pro-people. The way the Modi-Shah combine, armed with Citizenship Law, is moving to threaten the minority community people is simply bone-chilling.

In India all political parties talk of fascism rather casually. Europe has seen it, they know the horror. The Modis have a vision of India of their own—a medieval India with imagined glory. Only toilers can halt the forward march of Modi's chariot. But the Congress party -led UPA talks less and less about workers and their plight. They are equally interested in introducing 'labour reforms' which in effect curtail labour rights further beyond recognition.

This NRIC didn't happen in one day. It started in Assam and it may finally get buried in Assam. If they activate NRIC, CAA and NPR from April, both majority and minority people will suffer. A huge population will become stateless and their rehabilitation will be in detention camps. And camps are coming up in the BJP-ruled state of Karnataka despite official denial. Modi is isolated internationally. Prominent world forums do not recognise his 'method in madness'. The situation is so grave that even George Soros, the notorious international money market manipulator, urged Modi to resist from going ahead with coercive Citizenship Law but the Modis are too adamant to go ahead with their action plan to make India a purely Hindu majority nation state while allowing minority community people to live in concentration camps for ever.

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Vol. 52, No. 35, Mar 1 - 7, 2020