By Sushil Kutty
Opposition unity is only skin
deep. And Chandrababu Naidu’s ‘unite or perish’ warning may not register on Mamata
Banerjee and the Left parties; Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Mulayam Singh
Yadav’s ‘endorsement’ of ‘Modi for PM again’ indicates the Yadav vote-bank is
divided. Akhilesh might have forgiven ‘Bua’ Mayawati, but Mulayam? It was he
who got reputation tarnished and a big chunk of the Yadav still stand firm with
Come to think of it, where’s
opposition unity? Brigade Grounds in Kolkata presented the stage. And Mamata
Banerjee strode it like to the stage born. But missing were Mayawati and Rahul
Gandhi, both aspirants to the Prime Minister’s throne. Every opposition leader,
from Farooq Abdullah to Tejaswi Yadav, gave a thumbs up to Mamata Didi while
Mayawi sulked in Lucknow. Rahul Gandhi, got praise only from BJP rebel
The other day, Sitaram Yechury
and D Raja left the ‘opposition unity’ stage minutes before Mamata Banerjee set
foot on it. ‘Kingmaker CBN’ sees the splinters in the opposition. It’s a case
of too many chieftains. He himself would have been one but for the fact that
he’s the weakest link and at the same time the most desperate for opposition
unity. All opinion polls predict a TDP washout in GE 2019. If YSRC wins and
Modi returns to power, outlawed CBI will enter Andhra Pradesh.
But CBN cannot control
ambitions. The prime ministerial ambitions of people with massive egos.
Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi… the list can only
grow. None of these leaders are willing to give an inch pre-poll, think of what
it will be like post-poll? Wily CBN’s survival depends on playing ‘kingmaker’
all over again. But what if the electorate, the 69% who did not vote Modi in
2014, do not want a ‘kichdi’, even the prospect of a ‘kichdi’ to emerge out of
the rubbles of a hung Parliament?
Everybody is talking of opposition
parties’ unity? Is that what the anti-Modi electorate wants? Don’t forget, in a
democracy governments are of the people, by the people and for the people. And
from all indications, the 69% electorate who did not vote Modi in 2014 are
unified against Modi in 2019. Why cannot the 69% get a clear choice – not in
terms of a gathbandhan, mahagathbandhan or Federal Front – in terms of a ‘PM
Face’ in 2019? 2014, the UPA did not present a ‘PM face’ to the 69% to vote
for. It lost. The mistake is being repeated in 2019.
Question is who could be that
opposition face? Leave it to a mahagathbandhan, or a Federal Front, and the
opposition, the Congress in particular, can kiss goodbye to ‘Goodbye Modi’! The
need of the hour is a bold decision from a bold leader. Cometh the hour, cometh
the man! And the best man cannot be any other than Rahul Gandhi under the
circumstances. The Congress should without further ado name Rahul Gandhi ‘Prime
Ministerial Candidate’ and be done with it.
Make it a direct fight between
Modi and Gandhi. Even otherwise, the perception is that it is a direct face-off
between Modi and Rahul. Especially, after Rafale-wrongs took wings. The rest of
the opposition parties will have to fall in line, pre-poll or post-poll.
Otherwise, the 69% will decide for them. If CBN is serious about his ‘unite or
perish’ warning, he should be persuading Mamata and Mayawati – Akhilesh Yadav
and Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar and Devegowda – to back Rahul Gandhi ‘for Prime
Politicians of the sort like
Chandrababu Naidu thrive in ‘kichdi’ situations even if they have nothing
numerical to offer to the ‘kichdi’. A lot has changed since the Karnataka
assembly elections. The Congress has won Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and
Rajasthan and Mayawati and Akhilesh are apprehensive. Mamata Banerjee, too.
Their ambitions cannot hold to ransom the majority of the electorate.
Five years of Modi rule have
further united the majority section of the electorate. They have had enough of
BJP rule, enough of the cow vigilante and living under the yoke of ‘undeclared
emergency’; enough of ‘education’ subverted and ‘history re-written.’ Forget
Rafale and forget joblessness, the bottom-line is 69% did not vote Modi/BJP in
2014. Of these, 24% voted various opposition parties and 45% stayed home, did
not vote. Why?
Most likely because of a lack
of an alternate ‘PM face’ to choose. Now is the time to correct that mistake.
Does the Congress have the guts to take the bold decision and go it alone? For
all purposes, Rahul Gandhi owns the Rafale issue. If the ‘Chowkidar’ is seen as
‘Chor’ today by vast numbers of voters, it is because of Rahul Gandhi. What’s
more, both BJP and Modi see Rahul as prime bete noire, Prime Minister in
waiting if it loses.
Dalit and Muslim vote-banks
will consolidate behind Congress if the Congress throws modesty to the wind and
declares to the 69% that did not vote Modi in 2014 that Rahul Gandhi is its
Prime Ministerial candidate. Priyanka Vadra Gandhi is making the right booth
moves in Uttar Pradesh and Congress workers are a galvanized lot, not just in
Uttar Pradesh but all over India. Give her a ‘PM face’ to go with the moves,
and the ‘face’ will capture the booth. Don’t let Mulayam and Chandrababu decide
prime ministers. One is for Modi, the other is for ‘kichdi’.(IPA Serivce)
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