“There is no choice between democracy and the nation. It was for the good of the nation that the people of India declared in the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, that “we, the people of India…..” ….. If Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity have not been rendered to “all its citizens” even after a quarter of century of signing of that Constitution, the fault is not that of the Constitution or of democracy but of the Congress party that has been in power in Delhi all these years. It is precisely because of that failure that there is so much unrest among the people and the youth”.
–Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan, An Open Letter to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, written on December 5 1975 from the Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai and published in The Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong carried on February 20, 1976.
Finally, after another hard fought election in which the Bharatiya Janata Party proved its metal, Karnataka got a coalition Government headed by the H D Kumarswamy of Janata Dal (Secular). The Congress party, playing a second fiddle to the regional party, used this occasion to from a newly emerged opposition unity. When one of the prominent Congress leaders was asked about the common factor that brings all these parties together, his frank reply was ‘we all are opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’. This kind of answer for a negative alliance calls for decoding the contours of opposition unity.
This is an alliance of leaders most of whom believed and practiced the dynastic politics. The obvious corollary of this family centred politics is appropriation of wealth through corrupt means. Fomenting regional aspirations, caste identities and communal politics in the name of secularism is also common to them. The irony is most of these parties who have allied with the Congress for the opportunistic power game, came into existence with anti-Congressism and have been fighting against the Congress. Every party leader is a Prime Ministerial candidate and everyone has his/her own ego and interests.
If this unity of political parties was not enough, the Archbishop of Delhi came up with a call for weekly prayers till the General Elections 2019, with obvious political overtones. The international media has already started the analysis for 2019 based on their favourite issues of Freedom of Press, lynching politics, atrocities against SCs etc. The Thoothukudi agitation leading to violent protest and counter firing by the police, led to losing of 13 precious lives. Apparently, there is something more than what meets the eyes to this new protest politics spurred via NGO activism. All these isolated looking events are not separate from the larger game of opposition unity. In fact, these are the forces that are forging and giving ideas of inflicting almost 543 cuts to Bharat. In short, there are many invisible actors who constitute this ‘All’ in this ‘Modi Vs All’ battle.
The political parties with many leaders will have an apparent unity but still having friendly fights on the ground. So Congress and Communist party will be fighting Mamata with tacit understanding on seat by seat basis, the same may happen in States like Andhra, Kerala etc. The real fight will be carried by the proxy actors who will be stimulating dissent in the society on various identities and localised issues and create nation-wide turmoil with a typical naxal strategy. In reality, the artificial battle built on a bundle of contradictions is not against Prime Minister Modi, it is against the ethos of Bharat that sees diversity as the expression of inherent unity.
The experiment of opposition unity is not new. During the emergency when Janata Party was formed against the Congress, Jayaprakash Narayan in his letter to Shrimati Indira Gandhi had beautifully articulated the rationale for the opposition unity. This emerging alliance neither has a leadership nor the conviction for nation. As the goodwill of the present Government and the leadership is intact after the completion of four years, this bundle of contradiction may crumble any moment. The key will be handling this farce of opposition unity without underestimating their strength and consolidating on the inclusive policies by passing on the benefits directly to the common people.