Opposition Unity: Prospects and Pitfalls

India Opposition Unity Meeting

It sure is heartening news that the long-awaited opposition unity has at long last materialized in the Bengaluru meeting.Most political parties that matter and oppose the BJP have come together in an desperate attempt to confront the demon in a body.The country has come to the tipping point where we are just an inch or so from sliding downhill into a fascist nightmare.For there can be no mistake about it.If the demon has his clutches on levers of power again he will lose no time to transform the state into a full fledged Nazi-type state under the pretext that the majority in the country wants it.

The few gestures of good will and mellow benignity will be then dropped by the wayside and a ruthless fiercely assertive power with looks of the new lion capital in the new Central Vista will set about realizing its ideological goals systematically. Ugly episodes like lynching and torturing those bereft of Dharma will be common to accustom and benumb the masses to such spectacles.Law courts will be turned into stages for assertion of power as the sole end of law. Universities will be seminaries and workshops of rote learning of the catechism of Hindutva. Cruelty will be routinized into a conditioned reflex.That,at least,is the plan.How smoothly it goes is yet to be seen,and God forbid that we are exposed to the experience.

Of all the political leaders Rahul Gandhi had been the only person to spell out the impact of the Karnataka election from this perspective: “We have opened a mart of love and humanity in the marketplace of hate”.Karnataka showed decisively that BJP could be defeated on its home turf.But what it showed decisively was that people are sick and tired of this commerce of hate and that they were pining for fresh air
of love which flows out of a free human heart.

But that was the result of serious consistent hard work.The chores of politics are symbolically represented by Rahul listening to countless people on the road,people of different livelihoods and persuasions.People came out spontaneiusly into the streets to join the struggle to overthrow brute power.But there is something more.Politics also involved constant address of differences,constant repair of breaches and splits,healing of flayed nerves among allies.In the nitty-gritty the goal itself might get obscured and the enemy lost sight of, unless clearly re-affirmed from time to time.

It is reported that during the meeting Lalu Prasad Yadav of RJD dropped a bomb by blurting out,”Why are Congress and CPM attacking TMC in West Bengal?” Of course there is no one-line answer to such questions. Mamata Banerjea is dourly holding on to power against challenges by fair means or foul.Will she allow the two rivals at least breathing space in days ahead? Will Kejriwal rein in his vaulting ambition for the sake of the common cause?Will the ruling combine in Bihar come to an understanding with smaller allies and communities?

Supposing against the odds the opposition does seize victory, will it succeed in holding its ranks?Might not the loaves of office,the lure of money breach even iron discipline to once again create chaos, opening the door again to the worsted but hardly depleted BJP?Or will it be able to resist the plums offered by a designing BJP flouting all norms of decency,as the latter has proved time and again to be past masters in the art?

One hopes the members of opposition knows in their bones that the BJP has a vision of opposition-mukt Bharat.All the allies it cultivated and won over had been systematically reduced to shadows in their intricate games of power.So once they break ranks depending on BJP’s temptations they lay themselves open to the latter’s habitual treacheries.The bigger parties in the opposition alliance, with the entire country in their imagination, must perfect the art of patience and perseverance against such repeated trials.From time to time they must emerge from brawls to assert principle over power and profit.

However at the moment it is a happy moment full of hope even as monopoly finance is deciding to bet with all its muscle and money and media one of the two rival camps.For having had a rip-roaring time with BJP it is thinking hard whether to back that horse or one that has now shown a fair amount of spunk.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

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