BJP’s Dominoes Are Falling, Viable Opposition is Need of the Hour

Demonetisation to Gorakhpur deaths to GST to rail derailments – how will these issues affect Modi govt in 2019?

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Opinion
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BJP’s Dominoes Are Falling, Viable Opposition is Need of the Hour

It’s important than ever before for the Congress, Left parties and for leaders like Mamata Banerjee to come together, not just to win elections but to emerge as voices of the people in troubled times.

With the elections hardly a year and a half away, the task at hand for the Congress and other opposition parties appears to be increasing with every passing day.

The Ruling Party's Pack of Dominoes

For the past one month, something different has been happening in the country. The ruling party has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. While Amit Shah and company focused all their energy on winning every state election in the last three years, there now appears to be a sudden realisation that not everything is going right for the government led by Narendra Modi.

Some tactful use of public relations, and the favours of a few media houses kept the government sailing on smooth waters for a long time, but there are some things that the PR or the media cannot help with. 

It all probably started with the news breaking out of 30 children (the number has increased steadily since) dying in BRD Hospital, Gorakhpur.

Also Read: 30 Kids Die in Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital After Oxygen Supply Cut

All this while, the Indian middle class appeared to readily embrace all odds in the hope of ‘Ache din’ under the current government; but even they were visibly shaken after seeing images of mothers in Gorakhpur carrying the bodies of their children who died from a lack of oxygen in the hospital.

Also Read: How Gorakhpur Deaths Disillusioned Yogi Adityanath’s Constituency

After this incident, it was interesting to see the BJP spokespersons go missing from primetime slots on most channels. Then came the Right to Privacy judgment, wherein the nine judge bench upheld privacy as a fundamental right of Indian citizens. The judgment came at a time when the government kept fiercely advocating the use of Aadhaar cards to avail most basic services.

Also Read: Too Lazy to Read Right to Privacy Ruling? Here’s the TL;DR Version

The BJP government has been saddled with trouble after trouble in the last few weeks – the failure of the Haryana BJP government to curtail the violence unleashed by Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Panchkula after sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted for rape; the observations of Punjab High Court reprimanding PM Modi; multiple train derailments happening in quick succession; orders from the SC to clamp down on ‘gau rakshaks’; RBI conceding that almost 99 percent of demonetised currency has been deposited with our banks, raising concerns about whether the note ban destroyed black money; the GDP falling to 5.7 percent.

Also Read: What is Causing Frequent Railway Accidents in India?

Lack of a Credible Opposition

But will any of these occurrences derail the BJP’s chances at sealing another victory in 2019? Looking at the current state of affairs, this seems highly unlikely. The anger towards the government has only been growing. Several staunch supporters of the Modi government now appear to be looking the other way after realising that this is a government of false promises.

But the problem that India currently faces is the lack of a credible opposition force. Even though the anger against the BJP-led government has been on the rise, there has been no platform to ventilate this anger. The opposition has failed to capitalise on the failure of the government and has not been able to function as a viable alternative to the politics of Modi and BJP.

Congress has been unable to recover after a crushing loss in the general elections and the subsequent state elections. With Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi refusing to accept bigger roles, and the hesitation to hand over the baton to a non-Gandhi face, the Congress seems to running out of time to prepare for the next election. A lack of organisational strength and Congress members joining the BJP seem to be few of the many issues faced by the party.

The existence of active opposition is a vital ingredient for the success of any democracy. Sadly, the current opposition has failed miserably in fulfilling this role. The Congress can or could have played a major role in bringing all the opposition parties together for the next elections but the party seems to be not even doing that. Fighting and winning a general election on its own is a farfetched dream for the INC.

Nitish Kumar was seen as a viable face to lead the opposition against the BJP, but his sudden and dramatic exit has got to do with his realisation that there is no chance for the opposition in 2019 and sadly, rightly so.

It’s important than ever before for the Congress, Left parties and for leaders like Mamta Banerjee to come together, not just to win elections but to emerge as voices of the people in some troubled times. With elections hardly a year and a half away, the task at hand for the Congress and other opposition seems to be increasing with every passing day. BJP was able change their fortunes in 2014 by capitalizing on the anger against the UPA government.

Similar anger seems to be slowly rising against the current regime but with no political party able to stand up for the people, BJP might sail through this and register another comfortable victory.

(The author was associated with a leading political consultancy for over a year. She can be reached at @MariaJo010194. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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