As the 2024 battle draws near, there is a desperate attempt by the opposition parties to forge a front against the Bharatiya Janata Party and its seemingly infallible mascot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, unity, the most important element that can guarantee the success of any such exercise, continues to elude them. While Congress, the main opposition party, claims that no such front can be viable without it, major regional parties – including the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) – want to have nothing to do with India’s grand old party, which they consider to be a burden.
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, often referred to as KCR, has been trying to put together an anti-BJP front with the support of non-Congress parties for past some time. While his attempts have met with limited success, a fresh initiative in this regard has been launched by West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee whose aversion for both BJP and Congress is well known.
Mamata had a meeting with former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav in Kolkata on March 17. Keen on opposition unity, especially the unity of regional parties which are increasingly playing a decisive role in national politics, the two leaders decided to treat BJP and the Congress in the same manner. The West Bengal chief minister, who is likely to meet her Odisha counterpart during her upcoming visit to the state, apparently finds Congress to be a hindrance to the opposition’s plans for unity ahead of the general elections.
Many regional parties, including KCR’s BRS, share this view as they are irked by Congress’s sense of entitlement. They want to send out a clear message that a non-Congress opposition is very much capable of taking on the BJP in the next elections and that the Grand Old party should stop treating itself as indispensable to the formation of any opposition front against Modi. Though leaders like Akhilesh Yadav may refrain from putting their thoughts in this regard as bluntly as Mamta or KCR, their own experience with the Congress has not been encouraging.
The opposition, thus, is clearly divided ahead of the crucial 2024 battle. There is a Congress-led opposition and there is a non-Congress opposition. This should be music to the ears of the BJP top brass who swung into poll mode months ago and have their strategy ready for each state of the country. A divided opposition means a definite split in non-BJP votes and the bigger the split the better for the saffron party which is eyeing a new record in 2024. While the leadership of Prime Minister Modi itself is an infallible guarantee of victory for the BJP, a scattered opposition will only make things easier for the party. The Lotus seems destined to bloom all over the country next year.