An uphill task awaits Opposition parties despite a show of solidarity among them at RJD Chief Lalu Prasad`s anti-BJP rally at historic Gandhi Maidan in Bihar`s capital city.
The Opposition camp which was almost in disarray after Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar changed his ally with a flawless precision to continue in power has found a strong reason to comfort itself after the rally.
Though Prasad and his family members dedicated a majority of their time during the rally in attacking Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Opposition parties`common goal of launching a unified attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government was largely achieved. The rally was graced by leaders of 18 parties including DMK.
Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also shared the dais with leaders from CPI, albeit CPI (M) skipped Lalu`s rally.
Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and BSP Chief Mayawati could not attend the rally for various reasons, the Opposition parties succeeded in sending a strong signal that the possibility of a broader unity among all non-BJP parties was not a mere wishful thinking.
Though the absence of Sonia Gandhi and her son in the rally was largely compensated by senior party leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and CP Joshi, BSP remained completely unrepresented in the rally. BSP clearly told RJD that it will share the dais with any regional or national party only when it was decided beforehand on how many seats would go to which party in the secular alliance.
‘Before finalising any secular programme, the policy and principle of seat sharing should be decided (first) as the survival of any alliance depends on it and all should get a respectable number of seats,” the party contended.
Prasad, who had earlier claimed that he was trying to bring two arch rivals BSP and SP under the same umbrella was not left dejected saying that he will continue to make efforts for bringing them together.Despite Prasad`s best attempts, broader unity among Opposition parties still remains an elusive goal as it itself is not clear how long RJD chief would be able to do it in view of the possibility of his incarceration in the event of his conviction in yet another case of fodder scam.
RJD chief has another task at his hand - of preparing his two sons - Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav well enough so that they could cross the barbed circle of politics unscathed in the future.
Rebel JD (U) Sharad Yadav, who is a big bonus for Opposition camp after the exit of Nitish, has also promised a pan-India Grand Alliance that would take on the BJP in the next general election but it is yet to be seen how much he would be successful. He also commands a huge respect among non-BJP parties but it would definitely demand a high level of his political acumen to forge a broader unity among like-minded parties. After holding the first convention of non-BJP parties titled as ‘Sanjhi Virasat Bachao’ in New Delhi on August 17, the second such convention was held under Yadav`s leadership in Indore on August 30.
The Congress, being a national party, is expected to take a lead role but it has yet to get a full grip on the situation arising due to the winning streak of BJP.
It is expected that efforts for forging broader unity among Opposition parties would get a push and much of the clouds of confusion would clear if Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is elevated to the post of party president. After the departure of Kumar from the Opposition camp, it will be interesting to see how the contentious issue of selection of a consensus Prime Ministerial candidate of opposition parties for the 2019 election is finally solved.
RJD Chief Lalu Prasad replying to a media query on it in his typical style, said, “We have so many capable leaders and we will decide it amicably.”
It is largely believed that Opposition would not be able to give a formidable challenge to BJP if SP and BSP do not come on a single platform in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha.