TMC Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is holding a rally in Kolkata today. The mega rally is a supposed to be a show of strength of anti-BJP forces coming together ahead of the 2019 general elections. Leaders from opposition parties like Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), DMK, Telegu Desam Party (TDP), National Conference (NC) are attending the rally in Kolkata.
Opposition leaders including SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK president MK Stalin, former PM H. D. Deve Gowda, and TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu met Mamata Banerjee ahead of the TMC-led mega rally.
However, three prominent non-NDA parties gave cold shoulder to Mamata. Biju Janata Dal (BJD), TRS and AIADMK decided to skip the rally. This rally is supposed to be a show of strength and power of all the non-NDA parties, but the absence of three key parties is a jolt for the opposition ahead of the 2019 polls. Another notable absentee is YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy. His absence is a key sign that he does not want to align with the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. It may be mentioned that Jagan Reddy’s popularity is rising in Andhra Pradesh and it is a major concern for current CM N. Chandrababu Naidu and the ‘Mahagathbandhan’.
This is a clear indication that all is not well within the opposition ranks. The ‘mega rally’ is also supposed to be a moment of power projection for Mamata Banerjee in her prime ministerial ambitions. Although there are a number of key opposition leaders who expressed similar ambitions in the past. Last year, Mamata had expressed her reservation for Rahul Gandhi being projected as the opposition’s PM candidate.
At a political meeting last year, DMK Chief MK Stalin said, “Rahul has got the ability to defeat fascist Modi government. Let’s strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s hands, let’s save the country”. This suggestion was immediately vetoed by other parties, including TDP, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference, CPM, and the RJD.
The Trinamool had said that any such announcement would be premature and might create a divide within the opposition camp before the 2019 general election. “This is not the time to discuss this issue. And I am not alone. We are working together. We are solidly together,” she said. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav had also expressed his reservation on the matter. He said, “If someone is giving their opinion it is not important that the entire alliance’s opinion is the same. So this exercise will keep going on. The BJP need not worry about it.”
This clearly shows that there are cracks in the opposition and the mega show of unity and strength by Mamata Banerjee is just an attempt to hoodwink the masses. It also exposes the fact that the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ is devoid of ideas and issues concerning the country and their only aim is to dislodge the Modi government by hook or by crook.
On the contrary, the BJP-led NDA alliance seems to be in a much stable and stronger position going into the 2019 polls. The absence of strong regional parties from the rally like AIADMK, TRS, BJD, YSRCP clearly indicates their stance on the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and indirect support for the ruling NDA. Not long ago, there was a shoddy attempt by the Congress-led opposition to unsettle the Modi government by calling for a no-confidence motion in the parliament. The opposition had to face embarrassment and a defeat then, wasting parliament’s time and taxpayers’ money. The NDA at this stage appears to be a more logical and electorally better alliance then the UPA. All the parties in NDA have a unanimous view of Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate. On the other hand, the opposition still doesn’t have a face for the post of prime minister. The strong and decisive leadership of the NDA gives it a clear edge ahead of the much awaited 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
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