By Nitya Chakraborty
The BJP juggernaut is on the roll. As the second half of calendar year 2022 begins, the opposition parties remain toothless and rudderless. At present, the BJP has started its three-day national executive session in Hyderabad. The cheerful leadership is focused on the next parliamentary elections in Karnataka, which will take place early next year. The takeover of the government of Maharashtra has been completed with the regime change on June 30 following the resignation of Shiv Sena Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Uddhav emerged as a capable leader of the anti-BJP forces. His demise is a major setback for the MVA in the state as well as for the overall opposition at the national level.
On the eve of the presidential election, the NDA has been able to gain the support of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the JD(S) of Karnataka. Both are from the anti-BJP opposition camp and were signatories to the statement approving Jaswanta Sinha as the common opposition candidate. This split in the opposition is expected to have an impact well after the presidential elections, BSP chief Mayawati has also supported Droupadi Murmu’s candidacy, but that was to be expected, she mostly kept her distance from the anti-BJP opposition.
What are the latest signals from current political developments? First, NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu will gracefully conduct presidential elections on July 18 to expose divisions in the opposition camp. Second, the formation of the BJP-Shinde group government in Maharashtra will encourage the BJP leadership to apply the Maharashtra model to Jharkhand. BJP will try to bring JMM back into alliance with the BJP led by Soren. Third, in Karnataka, the BJP will target JD(S) MLAs to switch to the BJP side before the assembly elections. BJP in the next municipal elections.
What is the opposition doing to this good strategic planning by the BJP? The main opposition party, Congress, is showing no signs of a turnaround in the fight against the BJP juggernaut. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is really unwell. All these developments certainly affect him. Health. She is also under pressure because of the subpoena from the enforcement board over the National Heralds issue. She is the director of the company concerned. She must appear and answer questions. The same goes for the de facto head of Congress, Rahul Gandhi. He is due to appear for ED again this month. RSS circles and some TV stations spread that ED will arrest Rahul after the next ED meeting. All this must have influenced Rahul’s proper functioning as leader of the Congress party.
Elections for the Gujarat and Himachal state assemblies are scheduled for the end of the year. BJP has completed all planning and preparations for the assembly polls. Stand committees have been established and extensive instructions have been issued to ensure the victory of the candidates. The congress organization in Gujarat is not functioning. The state leadership of the congress is no match for the state leadership of the BJP. Furthermore, the BJP’s central war chamber headed by none other than Amit Shah is continuously monitoring developments in election planning. In Himachal, Congress’ voting system is much better compared to Gujarat, but from July the BJP leadership is organizing a massive election campaign in Himachal. Sangh Parivar outfits are working overtime to make the artsy candidates a success.
Congress is slated to hold its presidential election in August this year. There is no indication that it will be delayed. But if held, it will surely disrupt congressional leaders’ schedule for participating in state assembly election campaigns. Congress is already way behind the campaign and there are no valid reasons to spend precious time on these staged party elections. Sonia must choose a number of senior leaders who will address the meetings in addition to Rahul. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the BJP camp, but the party has raised many young leaders to address public meetings. Congress should not depend on just one leader, Rahul Gandhi, for public gatherings.
As for the non-congress parties in the opposition, the situation is much better. The Tri9namool Congress headed by Mamata Banerjee is functioning well in the state. It is expanding at the expense of BJP. In the recent elections to the Darjeeling-based GTA, the BJP suffered major defeats in its strong position in North Bengal. All indications are that BJP seats will fall drastically in the next Lok Sabha elections from Bengal. As for DMK, Chief Minister MK Stalin reigns supreme and he leads the front of anti-BJP parties including Congress and Left with maturity. In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front led by P Vijayan is firmly in the saddle. LDF will certainly do much better in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024 at the expense of congressional seats. NCP is strong in Maharashtra despite the fall of the MVA government.
It is clear that the prospects for Lok Sabha for 2024 have been weakened by the latest political developments. The turnaround of the opposition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections will depend on the scale of the Congress’s success. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Congress led the opposition and formed the government. No political leader expected Vajpayee’s defeat after the India Shining campaign. But it happened. Congress campaign Aam Admi Hath ka Sath clicked. Now less than two years before the 2024 elections, congress organizers at all levels have to go to that Aam Admi. They suffer much more than the 2004 elections. They are boiling with anger at the current BJP regime, but they need to be poached. This link with suffering and aggrieved masses will only decide whether change will take place after the 2024 polls. (IPA service)
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