By Sushil Kutty
It takes a lot to upset the equanimity of Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha. Especially when he’s still the fresh hubby with a pretty life partner. Yet, Chadha is lacking the spring in his steps. The much touted unity in the INDI-Alliance is what bothers the AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP, the wavering ties between the Congress and AAP as also the GOP’s running battles with the Samajwadi Party.
Chadha seems to have a wise head and nobody is going to call him ‘Murkhon Ka Sardar’, which is a title Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been foisting on an especially irritating political adversary. Raghav Chadha the other day advised the Congress to “fight unitedly”, which sounds friendlier than ‘Murkhon Ka Sardar’.
Frankly, disunity will be the Opposition’s bugbear for as long as the Congress can bear it. The BJP-led NDA has been ruling the roost for a decade on the back of opposition disunity. Ambitious regional satraps and egotistic opposition stalwarts have been routinely playing spoilsport and giving the BJP chance upon chance to foist Narendra Modi on India despite knowing well that minus opposition unity the country is staring at a PM-for-Life!
With AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal quite frankly unable to lead from the front because of uniquely AAP problems, it has been left to a level-headed AAP leader to address issues related to INDI-Alliance. And Chadha seems to have risen to the challenge, perhaps with the consent and approval of Arvind Kejriwal.
Both the AAP and the Congress are part of the INDIA bloc and all INDI-Alliance constituents have to stick together till after Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ousted and somebody who is not “Murkhon Ka Sardar” gets a shot at becoming Prime Minister! But “Mission Accomplished” cannot come if everybody in the INDI-Alliance isn’t as accommodating as Raghav Chadha. The AAP MP is an example of marrying early and doing well.
Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi missed that particular boat. But that shouldn’t mean Gandhi is completely blind to “this kind of tutu main main hurts the hopes of people”, which is part of a Raghav Chadha quote doing the rounds in troubled INDI-Alliance circles. Chadha knows the root cause, the party at the centre of the alliance’s troubles – the Congress!
Like it or not, the Congress is the fulcrum of the INDI-Alliance. It should take its responsibility seriously. Stop the antics and lead by example. If the five states’ elections are to go the Modi way, the INDI-Alliance can kiss goodbye any chances of seeing the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi come 2024 and the general elections.
By now everybody in the Opposition should know PM Modi plays hard and fast. And comments like “Murkhon Ka Sardar” find ready takers among the largely rustic and carefree electorate. They like the comic turn of phrase. It tickled their funny bones. Such turns of phrase are considered slapstick smart – “Wah, Modi Ne Kya Mara!” With that “filmy dialogue”, Modi called the entire INDI-Alliance and its vote-bank a bunch of fools.
And what is INDI-Alliance doing? Squabbling to win the assemblies even if it means losing the general. The Congress wants to win Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Nay, it is confident of victory that it does not mind trampling on Samajwadi Party ambitions. The alliance doesn’t click at the state-level, which is also Chadha’s view.
But the AAP is not making the breakdown of the alliance at the states’ level into a big issue whereas for the Samajwadi Party it’s complete betrayal of alliance-dharma, unpardonable and god save Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. The Congress took a risk and now it’s too late. The differences in the INDI-Alliance have persisted even as the assembly elections in five states are underway. The voters aren’t amused or forgiving.
Currently in India, there is the Muslim vote-bank and there is the Hindu vote-bank. Then there is the so-called ‘secular vote-bank’. Last, but not the least, the ‘undecided vote-bank’. The squabbling in the INDI-Alliance is making it difficult for the undecided vote-bank to decide. And that is “Advantage Modi’. AAP’s Raghav Chadha is the rare Opposition politician who has understood this. The Congress party’s standard-bearer Rahul Gandhi chooses not to.
With six months left until general elections, the INDI-Alliance is fraying at the edges. Many INDI-Alliance constituents are champing at the bits. Their restlessness speaks volumes of what awaits the INDIA bloc if the Congress does not get down to brass-tacks. Akhilesh Yadav and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury have spoken. Is INDI-Alliance intact?
Under the circumstances, “listen to Chadha” should be the mantra: “All of us should strive to keep the INDIA bloc united. When the INDIA bloc was formed, it reflected the popular imagination, thought, and hope of an alternative for 135 crore Indians. This kind of tu-tu main-main hurts the hopes of people.” At the end of the day, Chadha is also a politician but at least he understands what’s at stake. Nobody will call Chadha “Murkhon Ka Sardar”. Seems like it wasn’t a long time ago that NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar said that “Rahul will one day lead India.” (IPA Service)