Rahul’s Meet

CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi’s Tuesday breakfast  meeting with the leaders from 15 opposition  parties has set the ball rolling for the opposition unity. The meeting was followed by a surprise cycle rally to Parliament. Earlier, Rahul had attended two meetings of the Opposition where the parties agreed to coordinate their protests in Parliament over Pegasus and the farm laws.
Congress was quick to declare Rahul’s meeting with the opposition as “a historic day”, saying “this is the trailer for 2024”. Rahul also tweeted a video of his engagement with the Opposition leaders. Speaking at the meeting, Rahul said, the opposition represents “60 percent of the voice of this country.”
The meeting came days after Mamata Banerjee’s  Delhi visit  where she met the opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s meeting with a group of opposition leaders at his residence.
However, it would require the opposition parties to stay the course to forge unity ahead of 2024 which is still three years away. As of now,  the BJP looks still the favourite to win the national polls, despite political setback of the second Covid-19 wave.  Though opposition looks to have found its bearings, more so, after Mamata Banerjee swept Bengal polls,  it has  a long distance to go before it is counted as a competitor. One good thing is that  Rahul  has shown some promise to rise up to the challenge, even though his image makeover is still a project in works. Gandhi’s speeches now carry more conviction. He has paid attention to  his communication style:  he now frames his arguments in a way that generate a bigger ideological contestation with the BJP– albeit, he has still way to go to match Modi’s overarching ideological challenge.
But the truth is it wouldn’t  be sufficient to dislodge Modi from his position. That seems still very unlikely. The fact is that India’s larger secular opposition is still in tatters and fighting over scraps.  Gandhi may be a better challenger now, but there is no major pan-India leader in sight to take on the Modi.
The saffron party offers a deft blend of ideology and a development rhetoric. It has Modi as an overarching leader. If the opposition fails to gets its act together, the BJP could even get a stronger majority than it did in 2019. And considering its electoral machinery it has become all-encompassing.
The opposition will have to make more substantive move to come together in the months to offer a more credible challenge to the BJP.  The party under Modi would not only need the opposition unity but also an alternative ideological narrative which is so far missing.  Here’s hoping that the political narrative which is generated in the process is constructive and inclusive.

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