The leftist-liberal cabal had been banking heavily on a Mahagathbandhan, consisting of the major opposition parties in order to defeat the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress in particular seemed to be over-enthusiastic as far as the idea of a grand coalition consisting of the opposition parties was concerned. However, even though there is some time before the country goes to the crucial general elections next year, it seems that the Mahagathbandhan is already falling apart. The potential constituents of the grand coalition are deserting it one after the other and seem to be giving it a cold shoulder. This time around, it is CPM leader Sitaram Yechury who has given a telling blow to Congress’ dream of forming a Mahagathbandhan.
Sitaram Yechury reportedly stated, ‘pre-poll Mahagathbandhan is not practically possible in many states’. He virtually ruled out the idea of a pre-poll grand coalition and maintained that a post-poll alliance might be done if needed. Sitaram Yechury also claimed that the main agenda of his party is to defeat the BJP and for that the CPM will form a tactical alliance and not an unconditional alliance. This seems to indicate that his party is not very keen on joining the much hyped grand coalition. Sitaram Yechury also made it clear that the CPM has not yet decided on the question of the anti-BJP party with which it will enter into an alliance. What must have come as yet another shocking disappointment for the Congress, Yechury made it clear that his party’s strategy will be based on the objective of maximizing anti-BJP votes and the question of a post poll alliance with the Congress will be decided later.
It seems that the CPM is giving a cold shoulder to the Congress by talking about a post-poll alliance instead of a pre-poll alliance. And even in that case, the leftist party is not making its future plans clear. This must be an irksome situation for the Congress. This shocking development has rocked the Congress shortly after Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav openly snubbed it. It was Mayawati who first gave a shock to the Congress and its dreams of a Mahagathbandhan in order to counter the BJP. She unambiguously stated that she will not form an alliance with the Congress at any cost. She also announced that she will either go solo for the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh polls or form an alliance with the regional players but will not form an alliance with the Congress. She came down heavily on the Congress and questioned its intentions to defeat the BJP. The BSP supremo claimed that the intention of the Congress is not to defeat the BJP but to hurt its friendly partners instead.
The Congress must have been startled by this development. However, more embarrassment was to follow. Soon after Mayawati snubbed the grand old party, it was the SP president Akhilesh Yadav who snubbed the Congress in the run up to the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly polls. He made it clear that his party would no longer wait for the Congress to make a call on a probable alliance for the fast approaching state assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It seems that both the SP and BSP are disenchanted with the Congress and are looking towards other modes of survival. If this trend continues, then the BJP will have a cakewalk in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha polls next year. A three side struggle will translate into a huge advantage for the BJP.
It seems that all prospective partners of the Congress and supposed constituents of the grand coalition have realized that the Congress is a sinking ship. Sitaram Yechury and CPM too have accepted that there is no use in pinning their hopes on the Congress or the Mahagathbandhan as far as political survival is concerned. The grand coalition is virtually out of the picture well before the Lok Sabha elections next year, giving a clear and massive advantage to the BJP.