Grand Alliance of opportunists
Many have argued that the recent Bihar election results were a sign of people having raised their disapproval against the Narendra Modi government. By spreading lies about rising intolerance in the country, an opportunistic alliance has shown its own intolerance to a young government that has been in power for less than 18 months. The Grand Alliance of Opposition Parties has been intolerant on every front, avoiding healthy debates in Parliament. It is intolerant of the concerted efforts the current ruling dispensation is making towards economic progress. It is intolerant of the message of secularism being pursued by the party in power. It is intolerant of the continuance of a stable government at the Centre. It is intolerant of people’s mandate. It is intolerant of its own fate. Suffice to say, many opposition parties have been relegated to political insignificance for their past deeds.
Given the Bihar election results, there is the issue of vote share, which raises serious questions on the narrative being played out by an opportunistic opposition. Some basic facts are that Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance cornered the largest vote share of nearly 46 percent as against NDA’s nearly 34 percent.
On the single-party basis, however, the BJP managed with a vote share of nearly 24.8 percent — higher than individual shares of 18.5 percent for the RJD and 16.7 percent of the JD (U). BJP’s NDA allies — the Lok Jan Shakti Party and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (secular) — could manage only meagre vote shares of 4.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. The Congress, which fought elections as part of the Grand Alliance, also could manage a vote share of only about 6.7 percent.
Back in the 2014 general elections, the BJP-led alliance had secured 31 Parliamentary seats out of 40 in Bihar. Although the RJD, JD (U) and the Congress secured only eight Parliamentary seats, it’s combined vote share stood at 44.3 percent. In a first past the post system of electoral politics, it is clear why the BJP-led alliance secured a massive seat share. Despite securing 28 seats, the LJP-BJP alliance secured a combined vote share of only 35.8 percent. Suffice to say, a marginal drop in vote share resulted in a dramatic fall in the number of seats for the NDA alliance. What added to the BJP’s success in last year’s Lok Sabha elections in Bihar was the split in the Muslim and OBC votes across disparate opposition parties.
The Muslim vote, which makes up for 17 percent of the voting electorate in Bihar, was split across the JD (U) and RJD –Congress combination. With both parties coming together, there was a clear consolidation of the OBC-Muslim vote in the state. The single biggest lesson the BJP can take from these elections, purely from a numbers standpoint, is that it cannot depend on a fractured opposition and voter class anymore.
The Opposition has configured a grand conspiracy against the people of India. Canards have been spreading about communal disharmony. Lies have been told about the economy. Historic decisions taken by the government have been trivialised. Even a former External Affairs Minister has gone on record denigrating India on Pakistani soil while praising the war-mongering state as a harbinger of peace. And with the little success they have achieved in Bihar, what are they establishing? It will be a government with two uneducated boys of a corrupt politician as Ministers in the state Cabinet. That’s a conspiracy against development. That’s the conspiracy of intolerance towards development and vision.
We worked so hard to recognise the concealed saber teeth of those international NGOs that were wrecking the economy. The decision to cancel the registration of many NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act has been taken by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after examination of their activities that allegedly include non-filing of annual returns, among other irregularities. Suffice to say, the government has made the right call in exposing their lack of transparency. However, the Opposition has, in effect, been accomplishing the same task of wrecking economic progress by other means. This is the grandest political conspiracy against a nation, abusing the powers bestowed on them by democracy.
The term “Opposition” for the Grand Alliance of Opposition Parties of India is a rather charitable description of their goals. They’ve opposed anything and everything - even progress. They will continue to oppose for the sake of opposing. I would rather rephrase the political formulations as - Governing Coalition and Non-Governing Coalition. “Opposition” is an undiplomatic, uncharitable, unabashed, uncompromising, unaccountable and unconditional word that justifies their irresponsible behavior towards the nation. Such opposition should be unacceptable to any civilised thought process.
(The author is Chairman, Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The views expressed here are those of the author, supplemented with some additional inputs from Millennium Post)