Millennium Post

Dissipating opposition

As the second phase of voting for the Gujarat election drew to a close, December 18, the verdict day is eagerly awaited. Though the end of November had witnessed surveys pointing to the fact that BJP would lose its majority in a tight call with the Congress, exit polls released yesterday painted an entirely different picture. December 18 could seal BJP's fate at the Centre prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, as now it seems that Gujarat will remain under the Lotus party's comfortable control and Himachal Pradesh is touted to witness a complete drain out of the Congress. Erstwhile Chief Minister, 83-year old Virbhadra Singh, who faces a series of allegations of corruption, is almost set to lose his place to rival Prem Kumar Dhumal of the BJP. This isn't much of a shocker as the hill-state has witnessed alternate parties taking over the reins of its governance, shuffling between the BJP and Congress across electoral years. Gujarat, which was the precious piece of cake that the Congress sought to sneak out of the BJP's kitty, maybe a lost dream for the party which had once the beacon of our country's modernity. With Rahul Gandhi set to take over as President, this defeat would instill a major setback for them, as their control is gradually dissipating from across the length and breadth of our nation today. While all exit polls assured a BJP victory, the contestation remained on the number of seats that the party would secure. Only one analysis of the seven saw a close fight between the BJP and the Congress, with two assuring a greater margin than the 2012 polls and one even predicting a landslide victory for the BJP that would surpass its 2002 score of 127 seats in the 182-member assembly. All in all, the BJP remains undeterred in its colouring of the country, where people continue to unanimously voice their support for it and primarily, its mass leader Narendra Modi. This outcome emerges despite a strong wave of anti-incumbency prevailing across the state, with sentiments against demonetisation and GST still remaining strife. Caste agitations and farmers' protests loom large, yet, voting seems to have turned towards the BJP's fate. This goes on to show, how, despite adversity and prevalent waves of negative sentiment, the BJP continues to thrive, primarily in the absence of a strong opposition. The concern that is increasingly haunting individual minds, who are distressed with the lotus-party, is the absence of an alternative that they can bank upon. The Congress has not depicted any kind of reliability in its actions. Its tiff and friendship with the Patidar agitators is evidently a coalition of convenience rather than one that truly seeks to attend to the cause of caste discrimination. The failure of the Congress, since the time of Independence, to eradicate poverty or diminish the prevalence of caste atrocities, cannot be easily ignored by voters who are looking for a reliable leader to cascade them out of misery. Rahul Gandhi displayed new maturity in this campaign, yet people's faith in him is still minimal. Seen as a privileged man of fair skin born to high cultural conditioning, there is little belief in his efficiency as a leader of the world's largest democracy which hosts 23 per cent people still living below the poverty line. In all honesty, there is little that Rahul can do to turn this fate around. Whether he will ever be deemed appropriate to become Prime Minister is indeed questionable. The victory in Gujarat will assure the BJP of success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, less due to its own abilities and primarily due to the absence of an opposition that can rattle its position. It will go on to explicate that despite the public failures of demonetisation and GST that have harangued the medium and small enterprises, the Modi magic and faith in his governance remains far more effective than the faith that is displayed towards the Congress. The Congress must refresh its outlook and posit a new stance before 2019. With just a year to go, there is little time that they can afford to be lost. An endless amount of anti-Modi campaign will fail to secure benefits. It must now rest upon its own laurels and make successful inroads at the level of the population living in real distress. Congress' dynastic politics which had so forth seen leaders of strong demeanour, projecting alternate prime ministerial faces, maybe the weapon it has to now pull out of its satchel. Keeping Rahul Gandhi as the face and trust of the party and thereby the country is not bearing the fruits that the Congress requires, at this point in time. Its legacy is completely diminishing and history is providing it with little leverage. A change of pedals is essential if it still wishes to challenge the BJP at the Centre. Given the dynamics right now, the beckoning spirit of the Congress is quickly dissipating. A one-man show at the Centre is reducing the efficacy of our governance. The Congress must gear up before the sun sets on its dynasty, forever.
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