But will the Opposition survive first, before it unites against Modi?
The opposition parties trying to forge a united front against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP has excited a few media Moguls to push their own agenda. However, Home Minister, Amit Shah has thrown a spanner in their works.
After the Patna fiasco where all the PM-hopefuls huddled together for a photo-op and failed to come up with any specific war plan for 2024, the next agenda will be, ironically, less about uniting against Modi, and more about saving their skin.
Virtually every political party that tried to up the game against Modi is now under attack from within.
Call it the Power — or Pawar — syndrome after the Maha collapse in Maharashtra. The country’s much touted Chanakya for many decades now, Sharad Pawar, the NCP supremo, is looking like a political novice, after his nephew, Ajit Pawar and his indispensably close confidants, Praful Patel and Chhagan Bhujbal, ditched him fair and square in a bloodless coup and embraced the Shinde-led BJP government.
The way it played out was so ridiculous that some commentators insist that the drama has been scripted by the NCP supremo himself!
Whatever it is, it is baffling to the extreme. Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and anointed heir, is said to have met her cousin, Ajit Pawar, barely an hour before he scooted with his MLAs to Mantralaya. She actually saw her party MLAs hobnobbing at Ajit Pawar’s residence and thought they were probably cooing sweet nothings. And after Ajit Pawar’s hijack of the NCP became official, Sharad Pawar is said to have taken it in its stride, philosophically saying he has experienced it all before!
For Uddhav Thackeray first and Sharad Pawar later who betrayed the BJP in 2019, it’s déjà vu 4 years hence, with karma paying them back in the same coin, after BJP ran away with a big slice of their party and leaving them as the head of a virtually letter-head organisation.
The next day, Sharad Pawar called his party MLAs tor a meeting and a few hours hence, Ajit Pawar conveniently scheduled his own meet with the ,MLAs. Presumably, the arrangement was to enable the MLAs to attend both the meetings and declare their support to both factions!
If politics is the art of the possible, the Pawars have indeed stretched the possibility to a new high!
Of course, Ajit Pawar & co. in the BJP-led camp, said the things that were expected of them. It is all now falling into a familiar pattern. And this pattern has been created by the other Chanakya, Amit Shah.
Consider: All dynastic parties typically have a soft underbelly where they are most vulnerable. Whenever the Dynasty tries to take all the reins in its hand, there is always a group which feels lets down because they are the ones who did all the heavy lifting and made the party more than just an ancestral property.
In the course of all this heavy lifting for the party, it is possible they may attract the attention of the ED, CBI, courts, etc. or alternatively feel enough is enough, lose their way and gravitate towards the BJP. They suddenly realise that they should also be a part of the development happening all over the country under Prime Minister Narendra Modi! Soon, the dynasty is for them, history.
Credit the BJP’s NaMo washing machine for clearing the taint in those who join them! Just like the Congress’ own washing machine which specialises in turning the communal to secular!
Tainted or secular, the ground is shaking from under the feet of most of the opposition parties.
Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is in such a broken state that people are resigned to the fact that it is going to implode and the question is only when, and not if. There is also speculation that the so-called Sushasan Babu wants to do another somersault and return to BJP for the nth time! The only hurdle before him is not RJD as one may think, but the BJP Bihar state unit! Nitish Kumar is perhaps the true heir to the famous MLA of Haryana, Gaya Ram, who in the late 60s switched parties within an hour!
The Yadavs’ RJD is the next citadel under threat after the land for jobs case against Laloo Yadav, his wife, and son, Tejasvi Yadav, threatening to haul them in jail in the coming days. There is a very realistic chance of the RJD MLAs too suddenly overcome with an irresistible impulse to join the development story unravelling under Prime Minister Modi!
Akhilesh Yadav’s SP is the next potential target for Amit Shah. Mayawati’s BSP, in or out of BJP, has been neutralised in UP, and if SP suffers a breakout, Yogi Adityanath will emerge as the next PM from BJP against whom the opposition will have to forge a united front.
Worse, there are persisting rumours that horror of horrors, the ruling DMK may also split, with Kanimozhi triggering an internal coup by ousting her brother, chief minister, MK Stalin and forming a government with outside support from ADMK and BJP! The trigger: Stalin going all out to defend the outsider, Senthil Balaji, formerly of AIADMK who is locked in a case filed by ED.
As for Kejriwal, the Delhi government may be safe, but who will run it, for chances of Kejriwal and few of his ministers, getting arrested in ongoing cases is becoming more and more likely as the days go by.
The big fish left is Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. Despite liberal use of the NaMo washing machine, the party is holding up. But the Uniform Civil Code issue may yet emerge as the X-factor to wean away some of her MLAs to the BJP before 2024. Especially those who are contesting from constituencies where Muslim vote is not crucial, may experience a Eureka moment and discover the development happening under Modi!
What of the Congress? The BJP is happy with its present situation so long as it has internal dissidents like Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, and is led by Rahul Gandhi.
So where does all this leave the attempt to cobble up a united front against Modi in 2024? They will be fighting not the BJP but for their own survival at worst, and at best a competition for who will be number two in 2024.