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Opposition not an effective watchdog

Voters rated the government’s performance as average in a pre-poll Hindustan Times survey. But it may not be easy for the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP to translate the unhappiness into votes for their alliance.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2009 01:09 IST
HT Correspondent

Voters rated the government’s performance as average in a pre-poll Hindustan Times survey. But it may not be easy for the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP to translate the unhappiness into votes for their alliance.

Analysts point out that the Opposition is not united enough to benefit from the anti-incumbency sentiment against the ruling Democratic Front combine.

“The Opposition needs to be united to benefit from the situation,” said Uday Nirgudkar, psephologist and political analyst. “As it appears now, the opposition votes may get divided.”

In the Hindustan Times survey conducted across Mumbai’s 36 constituencies, voters rated the government’s performance at 5.2 on a scale of 10.

This is not good news for the Congress-NCP alliance, which is now seeking a third consecutive term in the state.

The combine first came to power in 1999 and was re-elected in 2004. But leaders from both parties, as well as political
experts, point out that the fact that they have been in power for a decade may now go against them.

The parties can no longer argue that they did not have enough time to fulfil their promises. And the recent downturn and spiralling inflation — not to mention last November’s four-day terror siege — might make it hard for them to convince voters they deserve another term.

If the Congress-NCP does return to power, it will be more a failure of the Opposition, which has not stepped in to take advantage of the situation and present itself as a more viable alternative, analysts say.

The survey bears out this view — respondents gave the Opposition a rating of just 4.9 on 10, when asked to rank its effectiveness as watchdog.