SAMIR KHAN, MAPUSA
LEADERS of major Opposition parties in the country converged on a Kolkata ground to put up a show of unity against the Modi government with the common agenda to oust the NDA government for its faulty economic policies and divisive politics. This ‘mahagatbandhan’, an alliance of various parties opposed to the Modi government, has already sent jitters in the BJP camp. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to dismiss this ‘mahagatbandhan’ as unviable and unworkable and called it “Modi versus chaos” while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also quick to assert that an attempt to form a grand alliance shows how other parties fear the BJP. Ever since the idea of ‘mahagatbandhan’ has emerged, the whole BJP camp and the media has started labeling it as ‘Modi versus the rest’. In a democracy any political party can form an alliance with whichever party it feels fit for its political gains. It is not only Congress and other regional parties which have formed an alliance; even the BJP has formed alliance with other parties for its electoral gains. In fact, in most of the BJP-ruled states it is in alliance with smaller regional parties and in some states regional parties are controlling where the BJP is weak. Some of them were once part of the NDA like the Telugu Desam Party, which recently snapped it ties with the BJP. For the 2019 polls, the BJP in Bihar has already formed an alliance with its NDA allies – the Janata Dal-United and the Lok Janashakti Party. In Maharashtra, it will most likely form an alliance with its old ally Shiv Sena, and similarly it will cobble up more such alliances with regional parties in other states as well. In many states the contest will be direct between the Congress and the BJP. And in other states it will be UPA versus NDA. So where does the question of ‘Modi versus rest’ arise when in reality the BJP has more than 40 parties as alliance partners? Moreover the Lok Sabha elections are not fought on prime ministerial candidate. Therefore it is wrong to project the forthcoming elections as ‘Modi versus rest’ and this is a faulty narrative.