After the end of the Monsoon session of Parliament, it is increasingly becoming crystal clear that under the leadership of the Gandhi scion the Congress party cannot stop the victory chariot of the BJP in 2019 general elections. Two landmark victories in the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament further cements this fact- the first is the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition against Modi government which badly backfired and the second the abject failure of the opposition to secure victory for its nominee in the election to the of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The latter one would be the focus of the article. I would delve into the reasons behind the opposition’s impotency to gather the numbers to defeat the NDA nominee despite the fact that NDA lacked a clear majority on paper.
To begin with, three big mistakes committed by Rahul Gandhi is the main reason behind the humiliating defeat of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election. The first big mistake made by the Congress President Rahul Gandhi was to pitch the lackluster Congress Rajya Sabha MP BK Hariprasad as the Opposition candidate at the last minute. This move proved that all the talks of Congress party to take the back seat if required in order to win the support of other parties was just a humbug. The Congress party should have displayed good and out of the box political manoeuvres. The Congress strategists should have reached out to regional big players like Naveen Patnaik and KCR, and offered its support to them. This would have led to a new alliance and also have provided other opposition parties with a reason to vote for the candidate pitched by the UPA. On the other hand, the BJP checkmated the entire opposition by adroitly putting up a JD (U) candidate. Non-aligned parties like BJD and TRS easily backed the NDA candidate because he was from JD (U).
The second reason is the smug self-righteousness attitude of the Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The Gandhi scion failed to get the AAP on board with its three Rajya Sabha members by complying with their demand that the Congress president must call up Arvind Kejriwal to get his party’s support. TRS chief KCR was also hoping for a call from the Congress president- that never happened. This arrogant attitude of Gandhi scion will damage his party’s own image in the grand alliance against the BJP and PM Modi. Strong regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee would not accept such haughty attitude. The NDA took full advantage of a lax and haughty attitude of the Congress party. The BJP and Nitish Kumar reached out not just to the non-aligned parties but also to the independent MPs. NDA could have easily contended itself with crossing the victory mark but it wanted to ensure the biggest possible victory it could achieve. Securing 125 votes when NDA in total had somewhere around 90 MPs in total itself shows the hard work put in by PM Modi and Nitish Kumar.
Third, poor house management. The Congress and its allies failed to ensure that each of their leaders were present in the House on the day of the voting. According to the reports from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, three Congress MPs were not present in the house on the day of the voting. The Congress is the second largest party in the Rajya Sabha with 50 MPs and with three members not attending, the number fell to 47. To add to the misery of the already frail opposition, three members of Samajwadi Party too were not present in the house. Two members each from TMC and DMK were also absent adding to the woes of the opposition. Two members of the YSR Congress Party and PDP abstained from voting in the elections.
The major take away from the monsoon session is that after the no-confidence motion exercise and upper house deputy chairman election, the BJP as a party has emerged as a stronger party and the Congress party’s talk of a grand alliance against the BJP are hollow and do not hold any meaning. The monsoon session also gives us a glimpse of larger picture ahead of 2019 general elections. It is expected that the BJP would try its level best to make 2019 Lok Sabha election a direct showdown between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi. This is their tried and tested winning formula.