Monday, August 8, 2022

Political ego trips

It was a momentary bombshell which the Trinamool Congress dropped when it announced that the party will not support opposition candidate Margaret Alva of the Congress for the post of vice president. The announcement was made by Mamata Banerjee’s heir-apparent and nephew Abhishek Banerjee, the party all Indian general secretary. The decision of the TMC to not support even the NDA candidate and former West Bengal governor Jagdip Dhankar was of lesser consequence than throwing tantrums because Abhishek alleged, that the party was not consulted before deciding on Alva. Even if TMC had agreed to support Alva, it would have not made any difference on the eventual outcome since the NDA candidate Dhankar would have sailed through with votes from BJP and NDA including regional parties like YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and BJD in Odisha etc. Mamata’s mercurial and temperamental behaviour is legendary and the TMC’s attack on the Congress is a continuing process. Mamata sees the Congress party as an irritant to her ambitions because the grand old party has proved to be the weak link in a perceived opposition unity to face the BJP in 2024. Therefore, Abhiskek’s bombshell announcement was clearly intended to isolate the Congress even if it meant breaking opposition unity in the process. TMC should have been gracious when Congress supports its national vice president Yashwant Sinha as the presidential candidate . The TMC’s decision to not support Alva on the plea that it was not consulted is a lame excuse. If TMC felt slighted, it should also recall that Mamata did not invite Congress for the meeting for opposition unity. Even if TMC wanted to abstain, it should have made known its displeasure when Sharad Pawar announced the name of Alva and have things sorted out instead of waiting for so many days. The whole issue of opposition unity to take on the BJP is like shooting in the dark. In fact the opposition parties oppose each more bitterly than against the BJP. Bloated egos and ambitions of each of the opposition parties such as TMC, AAP and TRS has ensured they’ll not get along. These three parties want to take centre stage in the name of opposition unity but are ready to snub each other anytime. TMC, AAP and TRS don’t want to play second fiddle when it comes to positioning themselves in the name of opposition unity .Questions arise when it comes to the need for opposition unity. The first is – who counts as opposition? ; what kind of unity is being talked about? and is opposition unity all that is needed to take on Modi’s BJP? Just being opposed to Modi does not mean they are the opposition . Unity bid without willingness to give up personal egos and ambitions is not getting them anywhere. The three parties championing unity is not relevant for most states in India. There are states such as Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where the BJP is still not an electoral force that calls for a unity of non-BJP forces. The most important point is that at this time there is no leader to even comes close to Modi and ; India is not ready to elect a khichdi of bickering bunch.

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