In Pictures: Opposition Leaders Unite in Karnataka Ahead of 2019
Will this bonhomie last till 2019?
23 May 2018, the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister was a historic day for opposition unity ahead of the 2019 general election. It wasn’t just the fact that bitter political rivals like Mayawati-Akhilesh, Yechury-Mamata and HD Kumaraswamy-Siddaramaiah, shared a stage. It was the esprit de corps (read: warm vibes) between them, that suggests that this opposition front could be the real deal, that a rained-out Wednesday in Bengaluru did see the most serious attempt yet, at mounting a united front against the ‘Modi wave of 2014’.
Front and centre in this effort will be UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who may have abdicated the Congress presidentship for her son Rahul, but it’s clear that her leadership still inspires the confidence of regional leaders, especially the women, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee, who are yet to give her son Rahul Gandhi the same vote of confidence.
The warm head-bump reveals the camaraderie between Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati, but will the same privilege be accorded to Rahul in the future, is the big question. Considering the fact that the Congress president is known to be close to the Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh, it remains to be seen if the Congress president can, like his predecessor, bring the natural political rivals together.
No effort at forming a united opposition alliance will be complete without the three women leaders. But will this woman-power also reflect in the political messaging to the country’s 49% female electorate?
Recent defector from the Modi camp, TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu was also invited to HD Kumaraswamy’s oath-taking ceremony.
Never Say Never?
Ex-JD(S)-turned-Congressman Siddaramaiah lost, but won, and yet did not become Chief Minister. Siddaramaiah has admittedly fought his last election, but if is he is to graduate to Statesman, he could need the support of HD Kumaraswamy, who was widely touted to be the Kingmaker but wore the Crown himself.
A new and unpredictable political entrant, Kamal Haasan has an anti-establishment stand so far. But does that mean he will stand with the anti-establishment alliance?
Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (second from Left) was representing his father Lalu Prasad, who’s in jail in connection with the fodder scam.
Here’s a complete list of the opposition leaders who were present
1. Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson
2. Rahul Gandhi, Congress president
3. Sharad Pawar, NCP chief (Maharashtra)
4. Chandrababu Naidu, TDP chief (Andhra Pradesh)
5. Mayawati, BSP Chief (Uttar Pradesh)
6. Akhilesh Yadav, SP Chief (Uttar Pradesh)
7. Mamata Banerjee, TMC Chief (West Bengal)
8. D Raja, CPI
9. Sitaram Yechury, CPM
10. Tejashwi Yadav, RJD (Bihar)
11. Hemant Soren, JMM (Jharkhand)
12. Ajit Singh, RLD Chief (Uttar Pradesh)
13. Kanimozhi, DMK (Tamil Nadu)
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