Editorial: Will The Opposition Show Of Unity Make A Difference?

Editorial: Will The Opposition Show Of Unity Make A Difference?

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Monday, April 01, 2024, 06:20 PM IST
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Ramlila Maidan |

The mega Opposition rally at the historic Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha election, was a huge show of unity that has sadly been eluding the I.N.D.I.A alliance in the last few months. The arrest of two chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren and the freezing of Congress accounts by the Income Tax department proved to be the trigger for this massive show of strength which essentially stressed on the necessity for a free and fair election. The ‘Save Democracy’ (Loktantra bachao) and ‘End Dictatorship’ (Tanashahi hatao) rally saw speaker after speaker taking on the Narendra Modi government over the alleged misuse of investigative agencies, the arrest of top leaders, the alleged subversion of the Constitution, tax terrorism in the form of freezing accounts of Opposition parties, the purported scam over electoral bonds and the EVM ‘tampering’ issue. Leaders and representatives of 28 parties came together braving the scorching summer heat. Even the Trinamool Congress representatives categorically asserted that their party was very much part of the I.N.D.I.A bloc despite indications to the contrary when Mamata Banerjee unilaterally announced candidates for all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal without taking her alliance partners into confidence. While the Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have been blowing hot and cold over seat sharing with the Congress in Bengal and Punjab respectively, the Ramlila Maidan mega rally witnessed a rare show of solidarity to protest the arrest of Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate. His wife Sunita Kejriwal and Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana took centrestage at the rally organised by the Delhi and Punjab units of AAP. Sunita Kejriwal addressed the rally reading out a message from her husband and promising six guarantees to the people if the AAP is voted to power. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi used the match-fixing metaphor to target the BJP and Modi, saying the umpires (Election Commission) had been bought over to ensure victory for the ruling party. The rally concluded with Priyanka Gandhi listing five demands to be sent to the EC including a level playing field for all parties in the forthcoming election, a Supreme Court monitored probe into the electoral bonds issue and curbs on investigative agencies. The BJP was quick to dismiss the INDIA bloc rally as a desperate bid to protect a family and the corrupt with PM Modi also raising the issue at his rally in Meerut when he promised to double down on the corrupt, however influential they may be. It remains to be seen who wins this battle of perception. If the crowds at the Ramlila Maidan rally are anything to go by, the fight will be quite interesting but perhaps this show of Opposition unity has come a little too late in the day.

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