With India facing an unprecedented crisis at many levels, leaders opposing Narendra Modi should be asked if they have any sense of history. Do they realise the crisis the country is in? Do they have the political acumen to deal with the crisis?
Today, democracy in India is in danger because the opposition at the national level is paralysed by short-sightedness. At a time when they should be united with the single-point desire of displacing a majoritarian government and its authoritarian ideology, they are busy fighting amongst themselves.
The country has faced such crises in the past too, though not of this proportion; but at such moments, the opposition realised its responsibility, grouped together and upstaged the Congress governments, be it 1967, 1975 or in 1989. In 1967, Ram Manohar Lohia laid the foundation of anti-Congress-ism, united the opposition and defeated the Congress in nine states.
Opposition of yore
In 1975, When Mrs Gandhi hijacked democracy and imposed the Emergency, it was Jaiprakash Narayan (JP) who united the opposition and dislodged the authoritarian Congress government. Similarly, in 1989, the hard work of leaders like N T Ramarao, Devi Lal, Harkishan Singh Surjit, Jyoti Basu, Ramakrishna Hegde and V P Singh conglomerated antagonistic ideologies under one tent and successfully removed a government which had more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Since 2014, the BJP has won two consecutive elections with a majority each time and during the last seven years, the country has faced the onslaught of an ideology that does not believe in democracy; an ideology that wants to create a theocratic state - with religion as the guiding principle, like Pakistan and Bangladesh. If that were to happen, it would be the death of democracy and constitutionalism in the country; liberal values would have no meaning, the opposition and voices of dissent will have no space, minorities will be second-class citizens and rationalism and scientific thinking will be replaced by bigotry, sectarianism, and fanaticism. But where are our opposition leaders?
Even as Mamata Banerjee is exhorting the opposition to unite, her own party is busy poaching Congress leaders in Goa, Assam, and Tripura. In Bihar, the Congress and the RJD have just broken up an alliance for a few assembly seats in a by-election. Arvind Kejriwal knows his party has very little presence outside Delhi and Punjab, but it is hell-bent on contesting elections in Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa and UP. The Aam Aadmi Party can’t win more than a few seats in these states but its very presence will split anti-BJP votes.
The Congress was very well-placed in Punjab but leaders like Navjot Singh Sidhu and Amarinder Singh are inflicting fatal injuries on the Congress. Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Bhupesh Baghel and T S Singh Deo in Chhattisgarh, instead of fighting the BJP, are fighting amongst themselves. Leaders like Sharad Pawar do not want to cross Maharashtra. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have shown no inclination to make concessions for regional outfits. Then how can it be assumed that the country is safe in their hands? If each one of them is busy saving themselves, then by the end, no one will be alive. They fail to realise such a basic thing. Such is the irony.
The writer is author of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and Editor, satyahindi.com
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