The Gujarat assembly elections are done and dusted and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the state with a slender majority of 99 seats and the contest became very close and PM Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah had to use all their might to retain its citadel. With the win in Himachal Pradesh with a handsome margin, the right-wing party now controls India’s 19 states and step by step India is moving towards a totalitarian state and our vibrant democracy is in danger if one party rules the whole of India than opposition and dissent will vanish and the Indian Republic doesn’t need that.
The opposition over the last three and a half years has seen many defeats and is in disarray and despite all the opposition parties opposing BJP inside and outside parliament, the results on the ground are very different and all the big and meaty states are governed by the saffron party. BJP with its ideological mentor RSS is very strong organisationally and it has a tremendous amount of networking and its booth-level management is very robust and also the state level leadership has been empowered by the high command to rule with an iron fist and are empowered to take decisions.
What next for the opposition and especially for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi? Rahul Gandhi over the last six months has changed his leadership and is coming across as a leader who is confident and is now expressing himself and is connecting to the voter on basic issues. Gandhi is also raising questions against the ruling dispensation on many parameters and is focussing on attacking issues rather than personality (read: Modi) and is putting himself as a viable contender for the leader of all opposition parties. But, the crux of the matter is that Congress has been decimated in states after states and is currently only holding Karnataka (elections in early 2018) and Punjab (earlier won in 2017) and its national imprint is quickly evaporating and is taking support from small regional players to sustain its relevance.
BJP is a party which comes across as confident and party which takes every election seriously and will not rest on its laurels and after the disappointment of losing Delhi and Bihar elections, party supremo Amit Shah got into action mode and riding on PM Modi’s popularity (may be subjective) is assuring voters to vote for the party which believes in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and not in appeasement of certain community. Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, and other opposition leaders have been trying to form a front to challenge PM Modi, but the leaders such as Akhilesh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati have not been making their positions or stand clear and as a result very confusing message has been sent by the opposition and there is a crisis of unity.
Lok Sabha elections for 2019 are fast approaching and the BJP is still in the pole position to form the next government. The opposition needs to be united to fight the election-winning machine and has to devise and formulate a strategy, which can take the government on issues and has to rally behind a common cause. Congress might claim a moral victory in the aftermath of Gujarat results, but the ground reality is very different and as they say ‘Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar’ and BJP currently has a vice-like grip on Indian polity and for the sake of democracy, opposition and Rahul Gandhi have to come together before its too late and show some fight to remind Narendra Modi once in a while that India will not be painted saffron.