BJP-Mukt Bharat Vs Dynasty-Mukt Bharat

PM Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi


Is it possible to have BJP-Mukt Bharat in 2024? If so, who will be the opposition face during elections to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi? This is the most debated issue in the political circles across the country.

Is it possible to have BJP-Mukt Bharat in 2024? If so, who will be the opposition face during elections to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi? This is the most debated issue in the political circles across the country.

To be frank at this point of time this discussion appears to be pointless as the political scenario in the opposition camp continues to be hazy.

Still the media, the intelligentsia and the politicians keep raising the question: who is opposition's alternative to Modi? Rahul Gandhi? Arvind Kejriwal? Nitish Kumar? Mamata Banerjee? or K Chandrashekar Rao? Can these leaders unite? Presuming they will, can they take on Mod's BJP? Will people trust them? Do they have pan-India appeal?

Before we discuss the ground situation, first let us have a look at plus and minus qualities of all these five leaders.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress thinks, is the heir apparent of the 137-year-old party. He can claim to have pan-India brand.

He has been consistent in taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one form or the other. How effective was it is a different matter?

Despite the advantages he has, Rahul has been a reluctant leader. Not consistent in his thought and actions – both inside and outside Parliament. Senior Congress leaders say he is "immature and childish and has been foisting non-serious individuals at the helm of the party. His idea of having a young team in the forefront of party affairs backfired due to his non-serious attitude." Azad commented that when senior leaders like him went to discuss party issues with him, most of the time he was found feeding or playing with his pet dogs.

Rahul Gandhi's actions were also criticised by leaders such as Himanta Biswa Sarma and Hardik Patel when they quit the party. In his letter addressed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Azad mentioned Rahul Gandhi seven times, accusing him of running the party through a "new coterie of inexperienced sycophants." Rahul Gandhi is also whimsical and unpredictable, but his mother is still trying to promote him. No one knows for what purpose he attacked Modi, called him suit boot PM and hugged him and winked.

He suffers from the tag of dynastic politics and this is what Modi and BJP have been attacking. The Congress party has failed to find a president who could steer the party and make it a formidable political force.

Mamata Banerjee is the only woman Chief Minister in India right now. She continues to be a dominant force in West Bengal and enjoys a pro-poor mass leader image. She is known as leader who is always ready for a street fighting spirit to take on BJP. She has been attacking the BJP and Modi consistently.

But the problem with her is that she is highly unpredictable. Her vocabulary both in English and Hindi is weak and lacks clarity in expression. She does not have roots beyond West Bengal. Her ministers and leaders are facing major corruption charges and one of her ministers, who was her close associate, was arrested and is in jail and she conveniently distanced herself from him and removed him from the party.

Arvind Kejriwal proved that a startup party can come to power not only in Delhi but if it gets connected to middle class, urban youth and farmers it can come to power in states like Punjab. He is energetic and fluent in Hindi and English. Personally, he is known to be non-corrupt though recently the alleged liquor scam has put him in an embarrassing situation.

Though AAP has expanded its foothold to Punjab and is trying its luck in Gujarat and is also eyeing Telangana, organization- wise, it lacks necessary backing. It is limited to a few pockets of the country. Kejriwal's image of being secular is also being questioned now. Governance-wise, too, nothing outstanding can be mentioned.

TRS leader K Chandrashekar Rao is undoubtedly a very popular leader. No one can question his untiring efforts in his fight to achieve separate Telangana. His biggest achievement was to convince all parties to put their flags and symbols aside for the cause of separate state and stand united. In the last eight years, certainly, the state has moved forward. It has not only retained its earlier image of being an IT hot spot but has picked up pace and has become a major IT hub. KCR introduced many welfare measures for different sections of the society though to what extent it has been successful has become a matter of debate now.

KCR is also known for his political shrewdness and is a person who can communicate well in Telugu, Hindi and English. But the criticism is that like Nitish Kumar he has been compromising on his political beliefs for survival. Till about two years back, he was a great admirer of Modi and he stated this on the floor of the state Assembly. But today he detests Modi's policies so much so that he is out to see him ousted from power, and has given a call for BJP-Mukt Bharat. He is yet to emerge as a pan-India leader.

Nitish Kumar represents a major state and during his two decade-long tenure as CM, he steered the state from being a BEEMARU state to be a developing state. He has long administrative experience and is an OBC leader. He also enjoys 'Mr Clean' image and is not a dynasty. But then for his political survival, he never wavers while changing his alliance partners. Like KCR, he has limited Pan-India appeal. He is known to be a leader who stings like a scorpion. RJD wants Nitish to go to national politics because it would pave way for Tejaswi Yadav to become the Chief Minister.

There are many who feel that the talk of opposition unity is nothing but "faltu," discussion. It is a futile pursuit because the war of egos continues to be at play between all these leaders who are in the race of becoming the next Prime Minister, though none is ready to accept it nor is anyone willing to say who would be the PM face. A similar attempt was made by TDP president and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu before last elections but he could not prevent Modi from coming back to power.

KCR too made several attempts till now but could not succeed in uniting all anti-BJP forces even for the Presidential poll. His attempts to showcase the welfare schemes of Telangana do not seem to have created ripples in other states.

Apart from accusing BJP of failing in governing the country and branding it as a communal party, he has not been able to create a platform to unite opposition parties.

While opposition speaks of Modi's communal agenda, none of these "day dreamers," as Modi calls them, talks about the menace of caste system that is prevalent across the country. KCR, too, cannot take a stand that next elections will be casteless elections. Caste had always dominated the polls for over seven decades but no one has ever made any attempt to eradicate it. On the other hand, they are encouraging it for narrow vote bank politics. Even the saffron party is not Mukt of this malice.

Coming back to the ground situation of opposition unity, the big question is what did the meeting between KCR and Nitish achieve? While Nitish felt embarrassed during the media conference on whether KCR would propose Nitish as the face of opposition, KCR said, "Who am I to say this? If I say this, then somebody might object. Why are you in such a rush? Let us sit and talk about this first."

Notwithstanding the denial of TRS, the fact is that Nitish felt that KCR should not have given an opportunity to media to raise this issue. He was also visibly unhappy over the prolonged press conference and said, "It's been 50 minutes, they have asked so many questions, what else will they ask? It's all clear."

At the same time one cannot run down the meeting between KCR and Nitish. Both leaders have a very important role to play in forging opposition unity. But the question is will they succeed? Can they bring North-South Milan? Will Kejriwal allow it? Kejriwal has announced that AAP would contest assembly elections against TRS in Telangana.

There is a lot of dichotomy. Opposition Jodo is certainly the need of the hour, but 'how' is the trillion dollar question.

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