Is anti-Congressism a sufficient glue to keep them together?
Ajay Singh | February 27, 2010
It was the rarest of rare sights to see Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav proclaiming their unity against the Congress party. Sharad Yadav heads a party, Janata Dal (United), which is determined to wipe out Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal from the face of Bihar. Then what could have brought these leaders together? If the proclamation of unity by disparate opposition leaders is to be taken seriously, there are indications that anti-Congressism is being revived.
The bonhomie shown by Bharatiya Janata Party's Sushma Swaraj and Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Brinda Karat inside Parliament is just an indication of this political impulse which had been lying dormant since 1998. While this may be tomtommed by the Opposition as the index of their unity against the Congress, the trend is equally a reflection of the Congress' success in regaining its primacy in national politics.
The Opposition has been in disarray for over six years. The primary reason for this is the state of denial in which the BJP leadership found itself. During LK Advani's tenure as the leader of Opposition, the party leadership could never reconcile to the fact that it had lost its position of political primacy. As a result, the BJP with its motley group of National Democratic Alliance constituents remained in splendid isolation on all issues related to public importance.
With the Congress gaining ground in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the party leadership has not only recovered lost ground but also regained its old ways of arrogance and contempt for opponents. Pranab Mukherjee's budget proved to be a catalyst in rallying the Opposition together. Obviously, in the absence of Advani, whose role in the demolition of Babri Masjid was a major handicap for leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav , Lalu Prasad and the Left parties, these leaders are finding Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley relatively easier to deal with. There is no denying the fact that the newfound opposition unity on the issue of price rise will be vulnerable right from the word go. Nevertheless, this is a good beginning to bring back the real isssue of aam aadmi to the country's main agenda.
The Moral Contagion By Julia Hauser and Sarnath Banerjee HarperCollins, 140 pages, Rs 699 The world has lar
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