By Harihar Swarup
Despite Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ditching the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) and joining hands with the BJP, it is in national interest to ensure that the alliance does not collapse. The grand opposition rally sponsored by the RJD in Patna was a welcome step in this direction. The rally drew in senior political leaders from, at least, 12 parties — including Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI’s D Raja.
The gathering of anti-BJP forces may well be the first step towards nation-wide Mahagathbandhan of secular parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. And, if such a Grand Alliance does fructify, it could at least prove to be a serious challenge to the BJP-led NDA. For there are growing signs that the BJP dispensation has developed an authoritarian streak as exemplified by its championing of food policing laws and kid-glove approach towards cow vigilantism. This provides an opportunity for anti-BJP parties to make an electoral comeback.