No true Opposition
People, mostly the intellectual class, other than identifying themselves with political parties who oppose the present government at the Centre, severely criticise the Indian National Congress and other opposition parties, not with an aim of supporting the ruling regime (though it inadvertently helps BJP and its leadership), but with the hope of sensitising the opposition parties to understand the ground reality of the political mood of the people and opinion makers of the society. In reality, the opposition leaders and parties exhibit continuously their inability, inertness, and refusal to learn and act fast and professionally to control the damage done to them by the ruling class.
It is equivalent to that of the damage done to the DMK during an emergency which helped the MGR to maintain his image as savior of the poor. The DMK took nearly thirteen years to recuperate from the bad image it had earned during the emergency. The opposition parties both national and regional are clueless to redeem their parties from the damages and yet they are comfortable as they are protected through their positions. It gives a message to their party cadres that they are in party position, Parliament, and state legislature to protect themselves, their assets and their business not the interest of the people and more specifically the poor. Left parties are not in this category but their contextualisation is a problematic one and hence they are also shrinking.
All political parties need new faces and a new brand of leadership with different approaches and strategies to lead the parties. It does not mean that these political parties do not have enough new crop of leaders. They have a modicum of leaders with potentials and skills to change the narratives and paradigms of Indian polity. But they are not allowed to emerge as leaders on their own. This syndrome has paved the way for continuous success of the present ruling regime at the Centre. Their success lies not in satisfying the needs of the poor through their performance but their connections with the masses through their promises. The credibility loss of the opposition parties enables the ruling party to be in comfort zone. In this process, the Prime Minister has got rich ability to communicate with the masses and convincingly keeping the masses with him.
It is ironical that the UPA has got a historic track record of performance from the perspective of the poor. But they are swallowed by corrupt practices of some of the leaders in the government. It is also a fact that UPA has got efficient performers in governance but the country witnessed total inefficiency in the leadership to control the mischief mongers. This continues since there is no leadership, people at different levels in the parties behave as they like and give a perception that these political parties do not have cohesiveness, sense of purpose and absence of agenda, everyone wants to keep safe through the positions they acquire in the party and parliamentary institutions. To oppose Narendra Modi, the opposition groups need a leader, they need agenda, plan of action, and strategy.
People who oppose Narendra Modi have no image among the public. Already they have been tainted and lost their credibility. Caste, class, and religion or region or culture or language will not be of such help. Even the branded political families cannot pull the crowd and get votes. The narrative has been changed by Narendra Modi who has given an impression to people that he is a leader, in office with a sense of purpose, direction, and strategy. He is in conversation with the masses and nobody from the opposition parties has got such linkages with masses in India as Narendra Modi. To oppose him, a leader has to emerge and should have a clean image among the people along with a record of performance.
It is hard to find such a match in the opposition parties. There is one such person available but now he has been made to move closer to Narendra Modi. It is none other than Nitish Kumar. He has got all credentials but the opposition groups have failed to make use of him. Nitish Kumar was the first person took the initiative to field a common candidate from the opposition parties to contest the election for the post of President of India. Had Congress followed him, the candidate from the opposition groups might have been announced much before to the announcement of the candidate of the NDA.
Finally, they followed a ceremony of fielding a candidate. Gopal Krishna Gandhi was contacted in this regard and he was left abruptly. Had the opposition announced the candidature of Gopal Krishna Gandhi, before the announcement of the NDA course of action would have been different? In the same way, the opposition parties should have prepared a common candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the 2019 election. It is unfortunate they have missed the opportunity. BJP leaders are openly commenting on who is there to oppose Narendra Modi. Like as long as Rahul is in the fray for the post of Prime Minister, NDA can rest assured that they will be in power.
The other opposition party leaders at different levels are commenting on the non-seriousness of the Congress leadership on the issues faced by the nation. This kind of directionless and purposeless political activity of Congress made every supporter of the party move away from it and criticise the style of politics perpetuated by it. The above conditions led the intellectuals to write about the debacle and directionless politics of Congress. Thus, in 2019, what will happen in the election has been already predicted by everyone that BJP has no opposition. Such goes the narrative. Thus, the opposition has to wait for yet another Nitish Kumar to emerge to oppose Narendra Modi.
(The views are personal.)