BJP is ready, what of the Opposition?text_fields
The two-day BJP National Executive Committee concluded in Delhi after delineating the picture of the campaign highlights prepared for the nine assembly elections this year and the Lok Sabha polls to take place next year. Narendra Modi's roadshow in Delhi as part of the National Committee was to make it clear that he would be the prime ministerial candidate for the next time as well. Union Home Minister Amit Shah confirmed the same in his speech explaining the decisions taken in the meeting. With the extension of JP Nadda's tenure as the national president till June 2024, it was also made clear that there will be no organisational elections until the general elections are over. It is clear that the Modi-Amit Shah combination will lead the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections as well. The resolutions tabled in the executive committee and Amit Shah's press conference suggest that there are no dissenting voices within the party to their leadership.
In a way, there was no need to wait for the National Committee to know what political agendas and the nature of organisational activities the BJP would adopt in the general elections considering that the party has been using hatred as fuel for its rise to power. However, the resolutions and speeches held there will help to determine whether the party that has been ruling the country for over the last eight years is trying to say something new to the people, whether it is looking for new internal or external equations, or whether it will stick to Hindutva politics more intensely. It is likely that the construction of the Ram temple and Modi's leadership in making it possible will be the main campaign plank of the BJP this time around too. Of course, it would be easy for the BJP to consolidate the votes of those who believe in Hindutva ideologies and can set aside their concerns about the development of the nation. A resolution moved by Devendra Fadnavis' itself was to express gratitude to the Prime Minister for the construction of the Ram Temple. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also clarified in a press conference that the temple will be an active theme in the next election as well.
What disturbs the BJP's political ambitions is south India and the impregnable political influence of regional parties. Modi's 80-minute-long speech and interventions at the meeting underscored the impression that the Prime Minister himself is stepping in to increase influence in the South. It is assumed that the private conversation with former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is a rebel of sorts, was focused on state elections. He highlighted the activities in Telangana as exemplary. He also called for the development of a revived spiritual and cultural nationalist outlook through the Kashi Tamil Sangam event held in Varanasi to confront Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu. The Prime Minister's speech ended with clear indications that earlier efforts to accentuate tensions among minority groups may intensify during the election season. In short, BJP's National Executive Committee meeting was telling the nation that the party's leaders and followers are ready to move to the booths and lower levels with the Sangh political agenda to ensure the succession of power in the Lok Sabha by mobilising religously and culturally the majoritarian supremacist streams and causing divisions among the opponents.
The biggest plus factor the BJP enjoys is the fact that apart from waging rhetorical wars against the hate politics that the BJP-led government has been propagating for several years now, the Opposition has so far failed in formulating a definite political agenda and setting up practical action plans. The BJP's political success in weakening the opposition often makes coordination of dominant regional parties impossible. At the same time, it has not yet been ideologically or organisationally possible for Congress or other parties to develop a diverse opposition as a national alternative. Bharat Jodo Yatra offers many insights and awakenings to this problem. 21 opposition parties have been invited to the closing ceremony on January 30. It is still unclear who all will be attending it. Only 400 days are left for the Lok Sabha elections. If the Opposition has any desire to consolidate the aspirations of the people and ensure a transition of power, now is the time to do so, and by no means after the election is announced.