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Opposition unity at the dining table

Opposition unity at the dining table

The dinner party organised by Kapil Sibal on August 8th as part of his birthday celebration has again stoked discussions on Opposition unity. A majority of the G-23 Congress dissidents who had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding a change in leadership were present at the event. The main dish served at the function attended by leaders including Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Derek O'Brien, Siva Sena's Sanjay Rawat, DMK leader Thiruchi Shiva, was a discussion on how to formulate an "opposition unity" to oust the BJP from power in the 2024 general election. While acknowledging the importance of the Congress, criticism was posed that both the 'Gandhis' are incapable of offering an alternative for Modi from the Opposition. Everyone agrees that the Modi government is totally destroying state institutions. They also acknowledge that keeping the BJP out of power in the forthcoming Assembly and general elections is essential for democracy in India. But ideological contradictions and local interests, which make coordinated political action impossible, remain as knots hard to untie. Amid concerns over whether the Nehru family has the capacity to lead a broad opposition, Sonia Gandhi has decided to convene a meeting of opposition leaders next week to deliberate on how the unity displayed by the opposition during the monsoon season of the parliament should continue outside the House.

It is easy to start conversations between opposition parties. But the joke in the capital is that it is impossible to end it with consolidation. The Opposition knows from experience that it is impossible to overthrow the BJP, which is so powerful in terms of power, wealth and organizational structures, with haphazard moves. Most of the opposition is incapable of replicating the BJP's 'ability' to persuade and intimidate parties and the people's representatives to pursue power by any means. Therefore, the country is not looking for a mere change of government, but a political alternative for reclaiming the values of democracy, pluralism and secularism as a nation. Political positions are very important for that. A mechanism of formulating them properly and conveying them to the people is also essential. Politics as a game requires a captain who skillfully exploits different players, who constantly changes strategies on the field, who radiates confidence and energy to face opponents, and who excites spectators and players alike. People will only vote if there is someone to carry out that task which requires long-term vision and full commitment. The meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi on August 20 will be successful only if it is acknowledged that the internal crisis facing the Opposition and the Congress will not be resolved by a sumptuous banquet and a group photoshoot.

Meanwhile, others are trying to sideline the Congress since it has failed to show the leadership to develop non-BJP alternative politics ideologically and practically and take the opposition forward. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Karnataka, Assam, Jammu region and many other Union Territories, the face-off will be between the Congress and the NDA. Given this fact, only if the the internal problems of the party are solved, will the both opposition parties and the public repose their trust in it. The Congress leadership will not be able to move forward in the long run without being prepared to restructure the organization and political agendas, even as this is a tall order. The Congress is still moving forward centred around Rahul. He, on the other hand, is reluctant to face challenges and take on party responsibilities. Therefore, the most important clarification that Sonia Gandhi will have to give to the Opposition and the people at the meeting scheduled for August 20, will be about the future of the Congress. The entire horoscope of the Congress and unity amongst the opposition lies within Kapil Sibal's one line that Congress cannot win the trust of the people without resolving its internal issues.

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TAGS:Kapil Sibal's dinner meeting oppositive unity Congress internal weakness meeting called by Sonia 
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