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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Opposition within Opposition has the BJP regaling

With salvos being fired within the opposition by the likes of Mamata, Prashant Kishore and Pawan Verma at the Congress and the Gandhis, the battle lines are drawn between the opposition for scrapping the barrel. 

Poll strategist Prashant Kishore, who is on board with the TMC, has fired jibes at the Congress and the Gandhis by saying that it’s not their divine right to head the opposition. 

Mamata Banerjee, fresh from her Bengal victory 6 months ago where she routed the BJP, also took a dig at the Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning accusing him of vacationing abroad most of the time.

With Mamata dismissing UPA’s existence, of which she was a part, the opposition looks in total disarray two and a half years before the next general election. But there are crucial state elections next year before the big battle of 2024 takes place and one wonders whether the TMC which is a regional party has bitten more than it can chew. 

It’s all very well of Prashant Kishore to catapult Mamata at the forefront of whatever remains of the opposition but the fact remains that TMC is a long way from becoming a national party with just 35 MP’s and presence in one state. 

You cannot blame the likes of Mamata and Kejriwal from being ambitious and trying to make their presence felt at the national level but for that they will have to come out of their small bastions and win across the country. 

Both have a chance to do that in the upcoming state elections where the claims of their poll strategists will be put to test. Poaching of leaders and legislatures cannot be a substitute to grassroot support and it’s only the latter which is cultivated over a period of time that helps in winning elections. 

No party can rule Bharat without winning the Hindi heartland which accounts for 50% of the strength  of the lower house and BJP does that currently but their is no denying the fact that Congress is a force to reckon with in states that matter and the likes of TMC and AAP are non existent in this belt which matters the most in the final analysis. 

So has Mamata  bitten more than she can chew? For the moment it appears so as her poll strategist in an attempt to position  her at the helm of all opposition could have done more damage  to opposition  unity than good.

Congress will not cede any space to regional  players like TMC and the latter has its task cut out as its self proclaimed status as a national player will be tested to the hilt in the upcoming State polls where its presence is negligible at present. 

The national vote share of the Congress in 2019 was 19.76% as compared to the TMC’s 4%. So the TMC  has a lot of catching up to do before it becomes a national  player irrespective of the claims made by its leaders and strategists. Moreover, more than 200 seats have seen a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP and will be contested in the same manner in 2024.

Inspite of the battering received by the Congress since 2014 at the hands of the BJP where according to pollsters it has lost 90% of the elections contested, it continues to rule states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Chattisgarh in the Hindi belt and could wrest some states from the BJP in the 2022 election to 7 states namely Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand,  Goa, Manipur,  Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

If it does that and the TMC has little or nothing to show for its efforts in these states then it will make a mockery of the tall claims made by its leaders and advisors.

For the moment though the opposition is split down the middle and you could have some regional players rallying behind the TMC and others supporting the Congress. But these equations and combinations could change very quickly in the first half of 2022 when results of 5 states are declared. 

Till that time the TMC and its campaign managers can rejoice in their self proclaimed status of opposition leaders. But rest assured, the only people rejoicing at present seeing the opposition within the opposition would be Modi and Shah.

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Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine

1 COMMENT

  1. Don’t mention Mamta trounced BJP in Bengal, wrong, from 2018 panchayat elections Mamta had anti incumbency, as 35 K panchayat were uncontested, opponents not allowed to contest like in AP, so BJP started working from 2019, winning 18 MP’s, so put efforts in 2021, assembly, won 77 MLA’s lost by 40 lakh votes in 50K booths, so lost by 100 votes/ booth, PK & Mamta indimated voters, booth capturing, counting manipulation, etc…not win by free & fair polls, our Delhi leaders took high ground of morality???Mamta not trounced BJP in bengal

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