Talking Unity Again

Who is afraid of much publicised opposition unity talk? For one thing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)–the principal target of opposition–doesn’t take it seriously despite their defeat in Karnataka assembly polls. Perhaps they know what ultimately matters is parliamentary privilege which depends on seats won or lost. All their tall talk of ideological and political fight against BJP is sham. Mere blind hate of Narendra Modi is not enough to challenge the authoritarian regime run by him. Unless they attack the corporates that back him nothing will change for the better. Adani is not the only issue that deserves attention. Economic ills are deep-rooted and these parties—opposition parties, have no desire to build sustained mass movement against the government’s economic policies. They have been talking of anti-BJP front for quite some time without really explaining how heterogeneous elements, having no radical political outlook, not to speak of socialist ideology will come together under a single banner.

Without a common minimum programme talk of any opposition unity is meaningless. They can talk endlessly more of the same—‘how to share seats’. Congress wants the leadership of opposition front so that in any future arrangement it can claim the prime ministerial berth. After its electoral success in Karnataka it thinks a swing in Muslim vote is taking place across the country. So it is a matter of time that they would bounce back in Hindi heartland. And not for nothing Rahul Gandhi during his recent US tour found virtues in Muslim League while describing it as a secular party. Perhaps he was defending their alliance with League in Kerala. In electoral gambling nobody is untouchable. In pre-partition India Hindu Mahasabha teamed up with Muslim League to form government in Sind. Surprisingly he got support from an unexpected quarter—Mayawati. Mr Gandhi spoke about the miserable condition of ‘Dalits and Muslims’ as if they were better treated during Congress rule. Bhaujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati otherwise discarded by her own community, agreed with Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Dalits and Muslims in India. But previous Congress governments were no less responsible for the present condition of Dalits and Muslims and the insecurity to their lives and religion. The Congress regime is filled with ‘black chapters’ of innumerable communal riots and casteist incidents for political and electoral self-interest.

Some people are pinning too much hope on the latest initiative launched by Machiavellian Nitish Kumar to unite opposition parties including Congress for the coming parliamentary polls. This man has a chequred history of indulging in unscrupulous statecraft. Mere blind hate of Narendra Modi is not going to create a situation where opposition parties will be able to form an alternative. They have no economic agenda of their own. All are competing with each other to offer freebies to the poor and don’t forget to appeal to caste sentiments for electoral gains.

The idea of anti-BJP anti-Congress front has been shelved. It has very few takers. Regional parties seem to have realised their limitation. In this opposition unity culture the left has virtually no role to play. They are on-lookers on the sidelines. These social-democrats are so demoralised that they cannot think of fighting even a regional party on their own. So they need Congress clutch for sheer survival even in West Bengal which was once considered a citadel of leftism. Left parties are eagerly waiting to see a Congress-led government at the Centre so that they could tactically align with it to save their leftism. They have no programme to fight casteist orthodoxy at its roots. As a result they have very little presence in the casteist belt of north India. Even the minority community people have very little faith in their secular noises which are as vague as anything else. Communalism has its economic base but they seldom attack this base and yet they think they are doing a great service to thwart communal aggression engineered by the BJP.

Back to Home Page

Vol 55, No. 51, Jun 18 - 24, 2023