Why I’ll Bet on Sitaram Yechury as the Next PM Candidate
The Opposition has tasted blood and is all charged up. The results in Uttar Pradesh had the most telling effect as erstwhile foes SP and BSP came together along with the Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to inflict a crushing defeat on the BJP in Kairana.
The SP-BSP combo also wrested the important parliamentary constituencies of Gorakhpur and Phulpur from the BJP which rubbed salt into the BJP's wounds as the constituencies were represented by the UP CM and Deputy CM respectively.
Will the 2019 elections be a rehearsal of the parliamentary elections of 1971, 1977 and 1989, when the Opposition put up a joint candidate in each constituency against the Congress candidates to prevent division of anti-Congress votes?
The results were spectacular for the Opposition in 1977 and 1989 as the Congress was forced to eat the humble pie.
The BJP is vulnerable to caste and regional disruptions, and by no stretch of imagination is it invincible. However, the Opposition faces an uphill task as there are a number of contenders with inflated egos who want to be projected as the next PM candidate to Modi. Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar – all are powerful regional leaders nursing this ambition.
Most of the regional parties in the country are personality-driven.
Yechury is Suave, Articulate
I believe the Opposition should project Sitaram Yechury as the alternative to Modi and there are strong reasons for this.
He may be a communist but his pitch for progressive accommodative consensus politics puts him poles apart from his colleague Prakash Karat.
Moreover, there is a virtual consensus on economic reforms and social justice politics in the country and it won't be difficult for any leftist to take the two together.
Communists have been relegated to the margins of Indian politics as never before with 10-odd seats in the Parliament and only Kerala under their ambit. No regional outfit considers them a threat to its growth, not even Mamata Banerjee.
In the plethora of heavyweight regional chieftains, perhaps it is he who carries the least weight, has good relations with all Opposition leaders, has views not only on local issues but also on national and international issues, and has impeccable integrity and parliamentary credentials.
The fact that he is not a mass politician may endear him to rival competing PM aspirants and help him to become a consensus candidate. He is immune to caste and religion politics, something that may make him acceptable.
(Jai Prakash Ojha works with IGNOU as Assistant Registrar. An avid writer and blogger, he has been published on platforms like Youth ki Awaaz, Huffington Post, Swarajya and OpIndia. After finishing his post-graduation in PMIR from Patna University, the author completed his PG Diploma degree in Journalism and Mass communication. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)