A day of dissent
It felt like Kolkata mega rally 2.0 as the national capital on Wednesday hosted leaders from opposition parties in a 'Tanashahi Hatao, Desh Bachao' rally organised by AAP. Almost three weeks ago, Mamata Banerjee, in her grand rally to announce the anti-BJP front, brought together more than 20 leaders from across the political spectrum with the mutual aim. In a democratic country, such rallies seldom raise eyebrows for it is the essence of democracy to protest. And so, first Mamata Banerjee, and now Arvind Kejriwal have made their intentions clear of the grand alliance being forged with a unanimous objective of defeating the lotus party in the upcoming general elections due this summer. While the grand alliance's bid is to display their fight to save democracy, NDA has seldom missed an opportunity to hail the idea of coalition government as a gross failure. But with episodes of disinterest taking the corridors of public opinion, NDA has been cornered over a lot of issues. Besides Mamata and Kejriwal, eminent politicos such as N Chandrababu Naidu, HD Deve Gowda, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar, et al with leaders from Samajwadi Party (SP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), etc., all came on the invitation to stage a rally in Delhi. Though such coalition announcements and getting together of leaders from the opposition fits the natural proceedings of a democratic nation heading into elections. But this time, the front is reinvigorated with others displaying glaring interest in dethroning NDA besides Congress. TMC and AAP have shown great interest backed by their personal ambitions of defeating the lotus party taking a united form. The general theme of the rally in which various dissenting voices combined was to make a loud statement of unsatisfaction in the air. While politicos are expected to do that, it is the impact that such a rally may have on voters which counts. Though the grand alliance also includes Congress, the Delhi edition of the same is rather peculiar since the local Congress leadership does not admire AAP. Infighting is rather easy to be sparked in such alliances accounting to the difference of opinion that exists, though overpowered by the grand objective to oust the saffron party. Wednesday was not just about AAP's rally but a day of dissent per se. Earlier, both the houses were adjourned due to disruptions staged by different parties. Rajya Sabha's last working day was plagued with repeated adjournments as it failed to pass the contentious Triple Talaq Bill and Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The entire northeast had erupted into protest over the CAB which clearly took its toll in the proceedings at the upper house. Disruptions, however, were not supposed to be the order of the day since peaceful scrutiny would have yielded more in every case. The opposing forces were clearly not constructive in their attempt to dissent. First Parliament, and then the rally, both had a common essence of general unhappiness amongst the party leaders vis a vis the current government. Rafale deal, horse-trading in Karnataka, Northeast's dissent over CAB, NRC in Assam, misuse of CBI, even the hooch tragedy, et al, took the precious time that the Budget session had for important decisions before the country goes to polls. And, like water, the precious time was spent. Adding that to the general disappointments by NDA makes a voter sensitive of all parties, and not just anyone. The grand loss is of the people only at the end of the day when these arguments make headlines for the next day while the politicos devise new plots to attack the other, more so due to elections. It is like whenever a term comes to an end and the government edges towards elections, political gimmicks surface while the performance across the governing sectors suffers. In preparation of wooing voters, governance, in some manner, takes a beating. The conundrums across the nation may stand testimonial to that. Yesterday, comprehensively, was one of the many days of general dissent that the lotus party had to endure. But even with the grand alliance taking the centre stage, robustly after its Kolkata edition, their ultimate goal of pursuing the voters to acknowledge the saffron party's flaws might require more than bold statements. BJP, since suffering defeat in last state election round, has made inroads to augment their chances of a successive term. And, in the eyes of commoners, the opposition's disruptions can also present a picture of obstruction placed over proceedings of Parliament in public interest. This might even aid BJP for they can steer the audience by urging how the opposition does not want the government to function. These protests, and counter-protests, arguments and counter-arguments will continue as part of a healthy democratic setup but what is imperative to note is the impact that they have on the public since their mandate is what matters.