By Dr. Gyan Pathak
The two-day National Convention of RJD held on October 9-10 in Delhi has made it clear that there will be a united opposition led by the congress to dethrone the BJP in Lok Sabha Election 2024. RJP leader Lalu Yadav’s saying this in categorical terms is significant for several reasons which included gaining strength of the opposition unity in the country and also putting more political concerns on the BJP’s political platter.
This subtle political move makes the BJP confused about the opposition prime ministerial candidate who would challenge Narendra Modi. It has put to rest for now that Nitish Kumar would be the leader of the united opposition as prime ministerial candidate, as has been the matter of speculation ever since split in NDA in Bihar. After walking away from BJP, Nitish Kumar joined hands with RJD and continued as chief minister. Bihar sends 40 MPs in the Lok Sabha, and hence the prospects of the BJP has been jeopardized in the state due to unity between JD(U) and the RJD.
However, Nitish Kumar has thereafter been busy in his efforts to unite political parties in opposition across the country against the BJP with limited success, the primary reason of which was inhibitions among the majority of leaders among the regional parties in accepting leadership of the leaders of other political parties in general and the Congress in particular. In this backdrop, RJD president Lalu Yadav has taken a principled stand that the united opposition must be led by the largest political party in opposition, which is the Congress.
However, Lalu Yadav was wise enough in not spelling out the name of any leader from the Congress in a bid to kill two birds throwing one stone. By avoiding naming of any Congress leader to lead the united opposition front he prevented the BJP to target the leader, while giving elbow room to the leaders of the opposition political parties to strengthen themselves in their respective states or regions without unnecessarily indulge in political feuds with Congress. Options for the regional political parties are kept wide open for now since the question of leading the opposition, more precisely the prime ministerial candidate, may be decided according to the actual results of the 2024 Lok Sabah elections.
The regional political parties including the JD(U) and RJD in Bihar, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, BRS (formerly TRS) of Telangana, DMK in Tamil Nadu, NCP in Maharashtra, or TMC in West Bengal etc may find this proposition convenient at this moment of time.
The popularity of Congress in general and Rahul Gandhi is particular has been on the rise ever since the beginning of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, since it seeks to repair the damage that the divisive politics of the BJP on communal line has done across the country, which has become a general concern for all who love a society free of communalism, and which has vitiated the entire social and political fabric making them toxic. Other political parties may find the re-emerging Congress more acceptable, as the RJD stand has indicated, though there are still great hurdles on the path of the opposition unity, and efforts are in progress to overcome those political impediments.
As for the RJD, its founder Lalu Prasad Yadav was re-elected unopposed as the party president for the record 12th time. Though the internal rift among the party members surfaced during the meet, they are in no way said to be undermining the move to strengthen the opposition unity. In fact, the RJD executive has passed a resolution to strengthen opposition unity for fight BJP ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Party leaders were unanimous on the issue of opposition unity to stop the BJP from ruling the country beyond 2024 to restore the communal harmony, peace, and progress for all.
Lalu Yadav said that the time has come for all political parties to unite against the BJP under one umbrella, and that has to be the Congress since its being the largest political party. Any political party that would not come forward with Congress, would not be excused by the people who are greatly suffering under the BJP rule.
Lalu’s statement that has come after a considerable exercise of opposition unity has made it clear that regional political parties are not ready to give opposition leadership to any regional political party. Lalu has also made it clear that regional political parties are in contact with each other to decide modalities of opposition unity which is in progress.
Congress has clearly an edge in respect of national politics because of its being the largest political party in opposition in the country, while the regional parties have regional aspirations. Their interests clash in the states which can be overcome by protecting the interests of the regional political parties in state politics, and in the bargain the Congress may get their support for national politics. RJD resolution has opened the door for opposition unity led by Congress at the national level. (IPA Service)