ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Outclassed

Why do the non-BJP parties continue to falter even six months after the general elections?

It has been almost six months since the present government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power with an unexpectedly large majority. While the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance was anticipated by most analysts, the scale and reach of the electoral verdict was extraordinary, given the electoral trends of the past two decades. The results left the opposition stunned and groping for a semblance of respectability as the Congress Party pleaded for its nominee to be designated as “Leader of the Opposition” in the Lok Sabha even though it did not have the minimum required 10% of the total number of seats in the house.

The 2014 electoral verdict overturned many of the accepted certainties of Indian politics. It wrong-footed political programmes and social alliances which had stood the test of time. It left everyone groping for answers as to what exactly had happened. And five months later, the non-BJP parties still do not have a proper answer. It is but natural that in such a situation the confusion added to the defeat would lead to the opposition losing its balance, unable to hold the government to account and failing to challenge the ruling party. But it should have regained its balance by now. Instead, we are witnessing a political opposition to the Narendra Modi-led dispensation that is still on the mat. The Congress continues to lose members and credibility. Not only are important leaders leaving the party but it is also losing the support of well-entrenched social groups. The regional parties are not much better off as they face electoral and political decline (except perhaps for the Biju Janata Dal). That even those who are traditional BJP allies are running for cover indicates that this may well be a result not just of popular disenchantment with the Congress and its allies. Some had thought that the coming to power of an avowedly right-wing party would provide the political space for the Left to revive but all indications suggest that the secular decline of the Left continues unhindered.

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