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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.

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Updated On : 27th Aug, 2017

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