By-elections do not matter much in deciding the fate of a government, far less of the nation. But the recent by-polls, spread in 10 states across the country, tell a different story. One, the ‘Modi wave’ has lost its steam and is showing signs of weakening. The ‘invincibility’ of Mr Narendra Modi is fast disappearing. Two, a combined Opposition can very well unseat BJP in the 2019 general elections provided a proper strategy is worked out. Three, if the Opposition parties fail to join hands and go for pre-poll alliances, they will perish and their redemption will be impossible in the near future. Four, people are disgusted with the BJP and they are looking for an alternative to get some relief.
The BJP, which had received a massive mandate of 282 seats, has been consistently losing seats in the by-elections in the last four years. It could win only five of the 13 seats it had held. The latest result in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, where a combined opposition made the BJP bite the dust, should be the benchmark for the 2019 elections if they want to unseat Modi government. The Opposition has a few advantages ahead of the coming elections. Anti-incumbency is fast catching up with the Modi government as it has entered the last 11 months of its rule. There is widespread disenchantment with a plethora of problems like unreasonably rising fuel prices, agrarian unrest, unemployment and Hindutva vigilantism hitting people below the belt. Coupled with this, BJP’s own allies are at war with it, and some have left it, weakening the NDA at a time when the principal party itself is in danger of losing heavily in the future elections.
This should make the Opposition plan out a pan-India strategy to go in for alliances well before the elections are announced. The biggest lesson from Karnataka is that a tie-up between the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) would have made them romp home and the drama that led to the two-day Yeddyurappa wonder could have been avoided. To make this possible, the Congress has to play a bigger role, realizing that coalition politics has come to stay here for a long time. There is no escape from it as regional aspirations are rising high. Each and every State has its own set of problems and demands. It is imperative that regional parties should have proper representation at the Centre to make them feel better.
However, alliances for the sake of just defeating BJP will not make them stable and sustainable. It should be based on a common agenda to tackle the major problems facing the people. Defeating BJP should only be a means to take the common agenda forward as the present dispensation has become insensitive to the harsh realities suffocating the nation. The Opposition should have a common view and vision to counter the BJP’s Hindutva agenda and sectarian views. The writing on the wall is clear: The road from Kairana is the right direction for the Opposition to mount a united fight against a government that has no place for common man in its scheme of things.(Published on 04th June 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 23)