New Delhi : Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien believes the BJP and Narendra Modi can be stopped in 2019 and offers a three-step approach that includes not making the elections a contest between Modi and “a single alternative candidate”.

He also says that the “false rhetoric built around a 10- letter word – corruption – is increasingly being questioned” and it is for the opposition parties to set the frame right by building an alternative narrative around another 10-letter word: competence.

“And on this the BJP can’t win,” he asserts, reports PTI.

To stop Modi, the Opposition needs to make a realistic assessment of national alternatives to the BJP, as well as regional opportunities and challenges for that party, and then strategise.

“In the run-up to 2019, I offer a three-step approach,” the Rajya Sabha member suggests.

“First, don’t make this a national contest between Narendra Modi and a single alternative candidate. This plays into the BJP’s hands. Rather, make this a national election that is sum of state elections.

Make Modi and the BJP fight 29 different regional elections in the idiom and language and with the issues and themes of the individual states,” he says.

“Don’t let the BJP make it a contest around polarising issues – beef, pseudo-nationalism or some such prime-time, made-for-TV-and-Twitter agenda,” he adds.

O’Brien makes these observations in his book ‘Inside Parliament: Views from the Front Row’, which is a collection of his political essays.

His second suggestion is: consider where the BJP juggernaut was stopped in 2014 and chalk out a plan accordingly in those states.

“Wherever the Congress can provide strong and rooted state leaders, willing to work hard, it will lead the battle and be relevant. Otherwise, parties that are strong in individual states will shoulder responsibility. It’s a joint effort,” O’Brien writes in the introduction of the book, published by HarperCollins India.

The third approach, according to him, is urging people to judge the government’s performance based on its policies.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal