opposition unity

The elusive goal of opposition unity is a perverse reality for several reasons.First and foremost is that current lot of party-workers are far more driven by personal ambitions of power and pelf than by ideology.The professed ideologies are usually covers for various narrow group interests,and equality is sought at the cost of others,liberty is also a cloak for class or sectarian license.Hence party leaders to keep their flock together must bow to their ambitions.Seat adjustments with other parties provoke rebellion as well as the shameless defections dividing votes and confusing voters.In that melee the real overriding goal of freedom for the people at large turns into smoke.All the parties suffer from this malady and the only cure is a clear and open acceptance of compromise and sacrifice as the realistic demand of the situation.They must also keep in mind that the BJP have become past masters of the art of fomenting such disaffection and rebellion.

The second besetting and quite critical problem is the yawning chasm between the discourse of political leadership and the language of the common man desperately searching for food, livelihood and security for life and limb.The social media are exploding with searing exposes of the rulers,their venality and duplicity,the horrifying increase in heinous crimes,the interminables downward slide of multitudes into misery and degradation,the base political servitude of the police,the docility of judges who condone flagrant injustice in the name of state policy,as well as fairly sober and practical counsel for tackling them from positions of power.Leaders seldom heed them,and get so much poorer to in political resources.Besides these are more often than not things people respond to and receive sooner and better than the political elite’s thundering rhetoric.

Rahul Gandhi’s legalized expulsion from Parliament is designed both to gag him from raising the Adani issue in Parliament and to keep him engrossed in getting bail through an artificially tortuous process of seeking and getting relief from the courts.(That must be the intention of certain vocal BJP leaders smugly advising Gandhi to approach courts.)Rahul Gandhi has shown some good sense by not taking the bait,meeting the people of his constituency, leaving matters in the hands of his lawyers.But he ought also to plunge again into the work of awakening common people from apathy,establishing rapport with them on issues that matter most to them,and inspiring them to take a bold and clear stand unaffected by repression and weakness with more effective methods than the media drama that appeal to depoliticized middle-class.Buddha had admonished his favourite disciple,”The common folks,remember Ananda,should be repeatedly reminded of the truths which slip from their grasp.”Real life challenges are constantly in their perception but they may be easily misled about the remedies.Hence the need for repeated and persistent efforts to awaken them from fumes of propaganda and myths.Elections are still one year away and this is an age of fast happenings and fast oblivion.

Smaller parties should also not delude themselves with the dream that now that Congress is shrinking they have a fair chance to gobble up the vacated space and gather more strength.BJP is aiming at absolute and undisturbed dominance and will brook no distraction.It has also acquired all capabilities both legal and illegal to attempt such a transformation of state and society.Arvind Kejriwal thought that if he skirted the Communal question he might be left in peace,a costly mistake that haunts him now.Mamata Banerjee,though a canny and energetic fighter,seems cowed to some extent by the snowballing corruption scandal. But once they are once again entrenched in Delhi the saffron power could,as past records show,use any means, however illegitimate,to oust TMC from power and decimate its bases. To parody Pascal in another context man may be a thinking reed,but it is a reed after all.

Everyone opposed to the Saffron wave should unhesitatingly join a common front and stand united for more than a decade to have a chance of survival and one for restoration for democracy.And leave their comfort zones and ineffectual obsolete methods for reaching the goal.And no one is too insignificant to be cold-shouldered.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator


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