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The glad tidings of national politics

The glad tidings of national politics

With the country yet to face the general elections after a few months, national politics has been becoming more eventful.

There are many who remind us that this election will not be like any other held in the country so far. They remind us that if the BJP secures a majority in 2019 as well, it would likely be the last election of that nature in India. That is, they say that this would provide an opportunity for the BJP to shape a new Constitution according to their doctrines toppling the existing Constitution. BJP already has a majority in the Lok Sabha and in two thirds of state assemblies. That the party does not have the required majority in the Rajya Sabha is the only factor that stops them from carrying out a Constitutional amendment. However, they will have a majority in the Rajya Sabha after a few years. In that case, the only place where they could be reined down will be the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, the next Lok Sabha elections undoubtedly will be a historic occasion related to India's legacy. Congress leaders like Shashi Tharoor have been raising this point seriously for some time.

Secular political parties most of the time do not take seriously the warnings that the political surges of Sangh Parivar have dimensions beyond mere poll victories. They always had an eye on their narrow-minded gains. However, glad tidings are now surfacing about mainstream political parties getting seized of the seriousness of the situation. The positive hope in this matter is that the Congress, the main Opposition party has taken the initiative to form the broad opposition alliance against the BJP. The fact that the initial step comes from Uttar Pradesh that contributes the largest number of Parliament members kindles hope. This experiment was successful in the Phulpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana bypolls and the BJP had faced a debacle then. When the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal faced the by-polls together, they were able to decimate the BJP. National media report that the parties concerned have agreed to move ahead by nurturing this political understanding as an official alliance in the 2019 general elections. There are 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Out of this, the understanding reached is that BSP will contest in in 35 seats, SP in 32, Congress in 10 and RJD in 3 seats.

Attempts for similar broad alliances have begun in states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Rajasthan and Haryana. In Maharashtra, deliberations are on among NCP, Congress and BSP to face elections together. In states like MP, Rajasthan, BSP has a good foothold in Dalit regions. BSP was a grouping that maintained almost like a theory that they would contest on its own. But that arty is now showing interest to contest in co-operation with Congress in MP and Rajasthan. If the endeavour for a broad coalition succeed, that will make a significant contribution to Indian democracy.

The process of coming together by parties which follow different political ideas, but agree on the common values of democracy and secularism, and their becoming a coalition, will make democracy more pluralistic and stronger too. In other words, if this grand alliance becomes a reality and it ascends to power, it will undoubtedly take Indian democracy to a better status. It may also help the social segments that have been kept out of the mainstream for different reasons, and geographical regions to find their space in the mainstream. Viewed from that angle, the envisaged broad alliance will be marked as something that enriches our democracy and pluralism, and far beyond the mere political victory of defeating the BJP.

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