A+| A| A-

Can They Come Together?

The opposition needs to move beyond personalities to an alternative vision.

It is possible that political parties aligned against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could arrive at a consensus on a common candidate to contest the presidential elections—due before 25 July when Pranab Mukherjee’s term as President of India ends. But chances of a Bihar-style anti-BJP mahagathbandhan (grand coalition) before the 2019 general elections seem rather remote. It is assumed that if all anti-BJP voters came together, they could defeat the ruling party. But politics is more than just electoral arithmetic. The contradictions between and among opposition parties and their inability to reconcile regional interests with what may be considered national compulsions, could well ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has little to worry about in the foreseeable future.

For instance, in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has hinted that she may not be averse to building bridges with the Samajwadi Party (SP) if former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav continues to lead it. Yet, whether Akhilesh can hold on to that position is being questioned given the attacks on him by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav. What is evident is that currently SP is weaker than it has ever been since the party came to power in UP in November 1993, ironically, in alliance with the BSP. Also, it remains to be seen whether Mayawati will get past 2 June 1995 when she was attacked by SP goons owing allegiance to Mulayam and Shivpal.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 27th Aug, 2017


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Using ordinance to protect freedom of expression from foul speech may result in damaging decent communication.

Only an empowered regulator can help boost production and cut coal imports.

Biden’s policy of the “return to the normal” would be inadequate to decisively defeat Trumpism.

*/ */

Only a generous award by the Fifteenth Finance Commission can restore fiscal balance.

*/ */

The assessment of the new military alliance should be informed by its implications for Indian armed forces.

The fiscal stimulus is too little to have any major impact on the economy.

The new alliance is reconfigured around the prospect of democratic politics, but its realisation may face challenges.

A damning critique does not allow India to remain self-complacent on the economic and health fronts.


The dignity of public institutions depends on the practice of constitutional ideals.

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.


Back to Top