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Five reasons why Congress failed to rally a united Opposition against Modi govt

From 2004 to 2014, the Congress successfully led its first coalition government at the Centre that completed two full terms. But two years after that remarkable achievement, the party is scrambling to cobble an opposition unity with its trusted supporters leaving the bandwagon.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2016 14:29 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally in Rajasthan’s Baran on Monday.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally in Rajasthan’s Baran on Monday. (PTI)

From 2004 to 2014, the Congress successfully led its first coalition government at the Centre that completed two full terms. But two years after that remarkable achievement, the party is scrambling to cobble an opposition unity with its trusted supporters leaving the bandwagon.

Even as demonetisation is opposed by all opposition parties, few of them are ready to hold the Congress’ hand to launch a joint assault.

Here are five reasons why the Congress failed to rope in key opposition parties for a meeting and a press conference on Tuesday:

1. The party allegedly didn’t consult other outfits before finalising the dates and the agenda. The smaller opposition parties saw it as a tendency of the Congress to ‘dictate’ the terms of engagement. CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury said, “There were no consultations and things were not planned properly for the joint meeting.”

2. Hesitation to come under the Congress banner: The difference between the Congress and AIADMK’s strength in the Lok Sabha is just seven members. With the Congress at its historic low in the lower house and saddled to power in just seven states, other opposition parties are not in a mood to bolster the Congress by lending support.

3. A large section of the opposition was irked at the way Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi went to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi after firing salvos throughout the Parliament’s winter session. Some of them, like the Janata Dal(United) are not so aggressively opposed to the demonetisation as the Congress is.

4. With elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa round the corner, some parties want to retain their independent position and avoid any proximity with the Congress to avoid any confusion.

5. Leaders of many parties have a conflict with the other parties’ position. Like, Trinamool Congress demanded a roll-back of demonetisation but the Left thinks such a demand will raise doubt in public about the integrity of the party. The difference among different parties could not be subdued into one common voice of the opposition.