Opinion: The Opposition – A Caucus Riddled With Contradictions

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As the opposition parties prepare for their meeting in Bengaluru, it is pertinent to recall BJP ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s words about the Congress party’s ideological inconsistency. “If there can be a magic box that contains a cobra and a mongoose living together, it is the Congress.”

While constructive opposition is imperative for a vibrant democracy, the current opposition coalition is nothing more than a caucus of contradictions. Their political philosophies are paradoxically polar to one another. 

PDA (Progressive Democratic Alliance) was Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s suggestion for a name. It can also signify Public Display of Affection, or, behind the screens, Private Disdain and Animosity.

Even before the Patna meet, Congress’s Acharya Pramod Krishnam bemoaned that the opposition was making the ‘Congress-mukt‘ dream easier.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) agreed to participate in the Bengaluru meeting after extracting the Congress’s support on the Delhi Ordinance. Senior Congress leaders in states had recently railed at the AAP, saying that they were knee-deep in corruption and had fought various state elections using ill-gotten funds to sabotage the Congress. They publicly urged their party leadership to not support AAP’s position against the Ordinance.

While Arvind Kejriwal accused Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of corruption, Rajasthan Minister Pratap Kacahariawyas quipped that Kejriwal should get a gold medal for his lies.

#WATCH | Jaipur: Arvind Kejriwal must get a medal for telling lies…he used to speak a lot about his sincerity but he has nothing to say about the palace that he has built for himself spending Rs 50 Crore…whole nation is questioning, Kejriwal must give answer on this…he… pic.twitter.com/c3WXjvKZRk

— ANI MP/CG/Rajasthan (@ANI_MP_CG_RJ) June 18, 2023

Reacting to criticism over the marred Panchayat elections in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee had said, “I feel pity for the CPI(M) and Congress… but you think you will behave this way and I will entertain you?” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, who had earlier denounced the Trinamool Congress as a “house of thieves”, denounced Mamata Banerjee as a “great underminer” of alliance politics. He also criticised her as someone who always played the role of a Trojan horse to undermine opposition unity.[5]

It is unequivocally evident to all that the opposition parties are not driven by the politics of commitment but by politics of unvarnished opportunism, and compulsion and convenience.

The opposition remains a direly divided house.

One common refrain of these parties is that the central agencies are being used to harass and intimidate them. Fourteen political parties had recently approached the Supreme Court alleging selective and targeted use of central probe agencies against opposition leaders to quell dissent. They had claimed that they represented 42% of the electorate across the spectrum and that if they are affected, it means the people too are affected. The Supreme Court dismissed their plea. While they try to maintain the facade of unity nationally, their inherent hypocrisy is exposed by recent developments at the regional level.

Kerala Congress president K Sudhakaran was arrested by the state crime branch in a cheating case and later released on bail. The Congress attacked the CPM and assailed the Left as “autocratic, undemocratic and not a worthy ally for anyone”. A senior Congress leader labeled Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pejoratively as “Mundu Modi”. Everyone knows the blatant double standards, given that they are alliance partners in West Bengal and Tripura.

The Punjab State Vigilance Bureau arrested former Deputy Chief Minister OP Soni, the fourth former Congress minister to be arrested over illegal wealth. The Congress accused the ruling AAP in Punjab of targeting its “Hindu leadership” in the state to “help the BJP” in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The BRS working president, KT Rama Rao, had earlier said his party had dropped the idea of uniting the opposition. He reasoned that blind hatred against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the sole agenda of ousting one man from his position cannot be the reason for opposition parties’ unity, and people would not welcome such a political approach.

The timeworn talk of the opposition coming together to save democracy is a non-starter, given the inherent inconsistencies and ideological incongruities. The opposition grouping will be only viewed as a pact between paradoxes without any firm ideological underpinnings.

Twenty-four opposition parties with the sole agenda of removing Modi are getting into a huddle not knowing if they will continue in this hotchpotch for the next 24 hours, given their inherent contradictions. This opposition, a divided house of dynasts, driven by sheer self-interest, is trying to do the political equivalent of selling snake oil.

On the other hand, you have PM Modi, who is talking about making India a developed nation in the next 24 years, when we celebrate the centennial of our independence.

The choice before our nation could not be more clear and distinct.

(C.R. Kesavan, a former member of Prasar Bharati Board is with the BJP.)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

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