India-First-Global-Insights-Analysis -Sharing-PlatformIndia-First-Global-Insights-Analysis -Sharing-Platform

India: Emerging trends on the political landscape

, April 27, 2015, 0 Comments

indian political landscape-MarketExpress-inSeveral new trends are now visible on the Indian political landscape. Rahul Gandhi is back in the saddle. The Congress Party is rejuvenating itself. There are changes visible in other political formations as well. CPI(M) has a new leader. There is plenty of talk about opposition unity. The AAP is, however, cutting a sorry face. What all this means is that the BJP will have to sweat it out in the coming Assembly elections and things are not going to be easy for this party.

In the 2014 general elections to the Lok Sabha the BJP emerged with a thumping majority. Even though this victory was very impressive from the point of view of seats won by this party, many commentators had aptly pointed out that the BJP victory was not equally impressive when seen from the angle of vote shares.

The Congress Party had suffered one of its most humiliating defeats in history. Questions were being raised whether this party will be able to revive itself. The party had several issues to tackle. Prominent among them was the leadership issue. Whether Sonia will give way to Rahul? Whether Rahul will be able to take up the role of a strong leader? Whether a set of new young leaders would be given prominence in the party? These were all questions being asked.

In the backdrop of all these uncertainties Rahul chose to proceed on a holiday in the midst of a Parliament session. Doubts were then raised whether Rahul will return to politics or whether he will return as a transformed and invigorated leader. Now Rahul Gandhi has made his come-back. As of now, every indication is that he is willing to take on more responsibilities and provide active leadership to the Congress Party.

Fortunately for the Congress Party the central government had, at the right time, thrown open an issue which could be made a campaigning point and this was none other than the Land Acquisition Ordinance. Rahul Gandhi was quick to pounce upon it and give this ordinance an anti-farmer and pro-business character. Now the entire efforts of rebuilding the Congress Party revolve around this ordinance which has been labeled as representing the pro-capitalist character of the Modi government.

After assuming power, Narendra Modi had displayed characteristics which could portray him as an authoritarian leader. In no time he became all in all in the BJP. Every other leader of the BJP was being side stepped. All members of the Modi cabinet looked towards the PM for direction and exercised very little initiative of their own. Combined with the authoritarian characteristics of the PM, the success of BJP in several bye-elections led to fears of an emerging dictatorial regime in India.

In the light of these tendencies towards concentration of power many people view the re-emergence of the Congress Party into prominence with some relief. Many are now willing to forget the corruption that plagued the previous UPA regime and would like to see the Congress Party emerge as a counter-balancing power against the BJP in national politics. In this regard it would be good to the Congress Party’s ambitions if it is not carried away by a superiority complex and believe it can achieve whatever it wants on its own. It is in this context that the importance of opposition unity needs to be recognized.

A sort of united alternate front has been cobbled up by leaders such as Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, M S Yadav and so on. It would be in the interests of the Congress Party and also Indian politics as a whole if the Congress leadership makes its moves in alliance with this united front. The BJP has emerged so powerful in Indian politics at this juncture that it can be tackled only by a united opposition. Attempts towards opposition unity was made even before 2014 general elections as well, but failed. If opposition unity had materialized at that juncture the BJP would not have emerged as successful as it finally did.

There were expectations from some quarters that AAP would provide an alternative platform for governance. But as things stand today AAP appears to be proving to be a failed experiment. The intellectual face of the AAP (Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bushan) has been expelled from the party. The party is now a body without brains. It is not only the expelled leaders who are no longer in the party even many representatives of intellectual India who had provided moral support to the AAP are now disillusioned and are no longer with the party.

The CPI(M) has elected Sitaram Yechury as its leader. While this move by itself is welcome there is much more to be achieved. For a long time there has been a talk about Left unity. Now is the time for action in this regard. Yechury is the right person to set the ball rolling in this regard. If Left unity is achieved that will be yet another move from fractured politics and towards consolidation on the Indian political landscape.

The united Left, the rejuvenated Congress Party and the Alternate Front should all combine in a spirit of opposition unity if they are to be able to confront BJP in the coming bye-elections and the next general elections four years later. A limited framework for opposition unity already exist which needs to be nurtured and the forces for unity strengthened. It would be too much to expect all individual elements to renounce their identity and merge into one. What is possible will be cooperation and unity among the secular forces to fight united as a single entity.