BJP is working overtime while the Opposition hibernates | opinion$Comment | Hindustan Times
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BJP is working overtime while the Opposition hibernates

Having by and large conquered north India, the BJP is eyeing Odisha and West Bengal, and thereafter the southern states. India’s map is getting saffronised with the BJP increasing its footprints in state after state. For this, the Congress and other regional parties have none but themselves to blame

opinion Updated: Aug 08, 2017 13:05 IST
Sunita Aron
Giant cardboard cut outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, New Delhi
Giant cardboard cut outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, New Delhi(REUTERS)

With less than two years to go for the 2019 general elections in India, the Opposition continues to be in complete disarray, refusing to move at a time when the BJP’s national president Amit Shah is on a 95-day hectic tour of many states across the country. As Shah rightly says, “My mission is to galvanise the cadre to improve the 2014 tally of 282 (the best ever won by any party since 1984) and not strengthen the Opposition.”

While his visits are creating tremors across the country, the Opposition continues to hibernate.

A spate of incidents should have by now rung the alarm bells — senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela quitting the Congress, 11 MLAs in Gujarat cross-voting in favour of NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, the collapse of the grand alliance in Bihar, and the recent defections from the SP and BSP much before Shah reached Uttar Pradesh.

India’s map is getting saffronised with the BJP increasing its footprints in state after state. The ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ project that the BJP had aggressively launched in 2014 is by and large complete as its main competitor at the national level has shrunk to barely half a dozen states.

Having by and large conquered north India, the BJP is eyeing Odisha and West Bengal, and thereafter the southern states. It is steadfastly moving on according to its blueprint inked in Odisha in April to make the BJP a pan-India party — from panchayat to Parliament. And on its radar are now the forces that have dominated regional politics — the SP, BSP, BJD, RJD and Trinamool Congress.

Perhaps the Congress and other regional parties have none but themselves to blame. While Shah is busy strengthening the already robust party, telling cadre not to get complacent as the Opposition was weak, the Congress and other regional parties have yet to start working on an electoral strategy or alliance to checkmate Narendra Modi’s onward march.

There would have been some murmurs had the Congress started mobilising the Opposition for the 2019 polls as it cannot defeat the BJP alone. This is also because the grand old party doesn’t hold the same level of secrecy as that of the Sangh parivar. For example, the media has now come to know that the BJP high command had closed door meetings with about four dozen UP leaders before clearing the name of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister.

Either the Opposition is pinning its hope on a miracle or has surrendered already.

Perhaps the Congress could at least improve its electoral prospects by projecting a young leadership in states ruled by the BJP. They have an enormous poll of young talent and the party must empower them. The revival of the Congress throughout India cannot be done from Delhi. The party will need home grown leaders to take on the regional satraps of the BJP.

saron@hindustantimes.com