Indian Opposition: Towards on an undefined path?
Political parties have to become debaters of right mix of policies rather than involving themselves in survival politics.
Bulldozed entirely by PM Modi’s ‘Saath, Vikas and Vishwas’, the opposition seems clueless when it comes to what went wrong. Both in 2014 and 2019, Modi and the BJP proved their might. How could the opposition still fight?
Decoding the Modi mantra
Two consecutive UPA regimes were plagued with corruption stories and conditional support by the allies. An economist himself, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had been left to balance non-economic issues. This discouraging environment had an impact on credibility of the government.
Deliverance of governance is important or at least a serious attempt to display such good intention itself was needed. Invariably, the Modi wave helped the BJP sweep to power.
The Modi government with schemes like Ujjwala Scheme and Swacch Bharat have made some inroads into the popular perception of the masses. Earlier many supporters of the opponents had deep apprehension over the schemes. The turnout of women and their voting patterns determined the mandate as evident from the Election Commission of India data.
It is said there are 13 states where women outnumber men voters in total such that the Modi regime may explore possibilities for separate women constituencies wherever they crossover the halfway mark among the total number of voters.
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The opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi and others openly appreciated the work done by Nitin Gadkari towards infrastructural development. Needless to say people may have also felt the same. The Demontisation and GST regime were identified with negative growth and unemployment by the aspiring opponent PM candidate Rahul Gandhi and a few economists. When the results came in, there was no trace for such allegations.
During the poll, actor Rajinikanth said that Modi is a “Bahubali” dealing with 10 opponents, which explicates real valour. Media including social media created memes against him. However, the result shows that the real cleverness to heap all the attention and debates on himself helped Modi to outsmart his rivals.
His hectic entourage undoubtedly created a mass image which is not different from Nehru, Indira et al.
“Beyond all, opposition miserably failed to be united and launch a real Mahagathbandhan to challenge the saffron party.”
The old stereotypes of caste, religious division and class divisions are out of fashion now. “Vikas” (development) and “Vishwas” (trust) are more attractive. In result, the BJP has increased its vote share to 38 per cent adding about seven per cent more than last time.
The major contender, the INC now has achieved 19.5 per cent of vote share, which is way behind the BJP. The earlier regional imbalance in favour of the saffron party is also partially wiped out now. It has made considerable accounts in Telengana, Odisha and West Bengal along with retaining UP. Hence, challenging the party in a multi-party contest seems to be tough one. Therefore, emergence of an ideologically-driven alternative or an alliance on similar lines would be a real possibility.
What the opposition parties should do hereafter?
The opposition should devise a strategy to work in tandem to challenge the right wing onslaught by the BJP. Congress may leave the reformist pathway because its opponent has completely usurped the weapon from them.
“What the opposition can work on and popularise is promoting civil society activism, root level democracy, women empowerment and participatory democracy to mitigate centralisation of power.”
The Left parties should become devoid of their old Bolshevik philosophy to turn to a more pragmatic approach to address public issues. Other regional parties should develop their own programs to suit their reality than depend on freebies.
The demographic profile of the country consists of a younger population. The demographic dividend is pragmatic, result-oriented and fast forward. To suit its aspirations, the governance should be dynamic and shed its bureaucratic nature. India has been placed as the sixth largest economy. The expectation of a billion plus population is huge and diverse. Therefore, the governance, policy making and deliverance has to see overall change.
Political parties have to become debaters of right mix of policies rather than involving themselves in survival politics. Success of the opposition parties also lies with accepting those development paradigm and finding an amicable way by strengthening democratic values and system. This would be the expectation of the young India of the 21st century.