When Article 370 was abrogated, Mayawati welcomed it and Akhilesh Yadav adopted a cautious tone.(ANI )Photo)
When Article 370 was abrogated, Mayawati welcomed it and Akhilesh Yadav adopted a cautious tone.(ANI )Photo)

Opposition parties find it tough to rebuild in UP| Analysis

Formulas tested for revival of opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have failed. Their dilemma is reflected in their response to major controversial decisions of the NDA government.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Sunita Aron
UPDATED ON AUG 06, 2019 07:56 PM IST

Is there a recipe for revival of the opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh? All formulas tested in the past have failed. The BJP’s performance in the general elections has thrown them into disarray.

Their dilemma is clearly reflected in their response to major controversial decisions of the BJP-led NDA government. When Article 370 was abrogated, Mayawati welcomed it, Akhilesh adopted a cautious tone, even as the Congress struggled to sink their differences on the issue that once held them in good stead but made them a villain now.

Even on the Ram temple issue, the opposition is already on the back foot and found a refuge in court decision.

However, the problem is much more acute for the opposition in Uttar Pradesh that plays a pivotal role in the formation of the government at the Centre.

The assembly elections are scheduled for early 2022. The BJP has already started working on swelling the number of members. On the other hand, the three major opposition parties — SP, BSP and Congress — are in tatters.

What next? Is there a recipe for their revival? They have already tested and tried all political combinations in successive elections.

Take, for instance, the Congress. The late Congress and BSP leaders, Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao and Kanshi Ram, had come together in 1996 assembly polls to take on the BJP .The Gandhi family was not at the helm of affairs as Sonia Gandhi had not yet taken over the party. Their coming together brought crowds at the rallies but not ballots in the boxes. Eventually, the BSP leader dumped the pre-poll ally, Congress, and formed a government in coalition with the BJP, the “manuvaadi party” it had publicly vowed to destroy.

The alliance broke and parties tested odd coalition governments, so much so that even Mulayam Singh Yadav took the help of his political bete noir Kalyan Singh, the Ram temple hero, to form the government.

However, it took non-BJP parties two decades to form another pre-poll alliance in 2017 when the Congress and SP came together on the eve of elections. The BJP swept the polls. Again, the SP-BSP came together in the 2019 general elections to turn the tables on the BJP in their strongest territory of UP. What was considered to be the coming together of 85% of Bahujan Samaj also failed.

Now the Congress is rudderless in a state where the Gandhis played a pivotal political role, the SP is in the doldrums and the BSP in complete disarray. After denting these parties’ vote banks of Yadavs and Dalits, the BJP is weaning away Muslims too.

The party, which could have been basking in the glory of its 2019 results set itself the task of recruiting 10 million new members in the state. The drive launched in July will continue till August end and will focus on all sections of society.

The opposition parties are left with little choice but to wait for the BJP to weaken itself or rebuild its organisation by broadening its caste and communal composition.

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