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Three Presidents face jailOpposition unity makes BJP nervous
By Satish Misra
On Friday April 6, exactly a year in before the scheduled general election, BJP supremo Amit Shah sounded the bugle for the Lok Sabha battle in Mumbi and launched a frontal attack on the scared opposition equating them to snakes, mongoose, dogs and cats who despite being traditional rivals are coming together to oppose flood like Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Scare of the growing unity of the opposition parties and the possibility of having to fight one to one electoral contest in the next general elections has indeed unnerved and unsettled Prime Minister Narendra Modi and obviously his comrade in arms Shah.

Host of factors including a non-performing economy have forced the Modi-Shah duo to start the electoral battle almost a year before the schedule date. Outcome of the Karnataka assembly elections on May 15 will decide the exact timing of the Lok Sabha polls. If the BJP manages to defeat the Congress in the southern state then general elections in most likelihood will be held as per scheduled in 2019 but if it loses there then big battle for the New Delhi's throne would be preponed. General elections would be held along with assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram in November-December this year.

Just a few hours before Shah had officially sounded the war bugle in the finance capital, the BJP Lawmakers including few ministers chose to protest against the opposition particularly against the Congress for stalling the business of the two houses of Parliament during the budget session and accused the opposition of destroying the country's democracy.

The ruling party, without wasting any time after the sine die adjournment of the two houses of parliament had gone into the election mode. "The Congress party is intolerant of the mandate given to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi in 21 states," Union Parliamentary Minister Ananth Kumar told media as he and other MPs marched across the parliament complex holding yellow posters and placards and shouting slogans.

In fact, the ruling NDA government ran away from its responsibility and made no efforts to ensure the smooth functioning of parliament so that it could put the entire blame on the doors of the opposition.

Defeat in the Lok Sabha byelections in Rajasthan, UP and Bihar and a countrywide protest by Dalit outfits on April 2 were few factors that forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately press the panic buttons and prepare for the big battle that could either give him another term of shatter his dreams for remaining in power for another term.

What has added fuel to the burning Dalit fire are the protests by some of the Dalit MPs from UP who have expressed their discontent publically. The BJP had won all the reserved Lok Sabha seats in 2014. In fact, a very narrow win by the skin of the teeth victory in the assembly election in his home state Gujarat had shaken him up from his belief that he was invincible and Modi had begun to prepare for the big battle.

A victory in Tripura over its arch ideological rival-the CPM- and formation of governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland were good enough to enthuse the cadres but his political instincts were telling him that road ahead was bumpy and a victory in the 2019 general elections cannot be taken for granted.

The Prime Minister, possessing a very high degree of political intelligence, knows well that the situation on the ground is far more worst because his four years have failed to produce any concrete results. Unemployment is at record high. Prices of food items, fruits and vegetables are beyond ordinary citizen reach. Prices of diesel and petrol are at record high.

Official web sites of Minister of Defense and Home Affairs have been hacked. Middle class is tired of fiats from banks and mobile phone companies to link accounts and telephone numbers with Aadhar and Pan Cards. Demonetization is etched deep in the public memory making difficult to forget. GST regime has unsettled small and medium businesspersons and women as they continue to struggle to put their act together.

Confrontation between the executive and judiciary is on public display. There are serious doubts over the credibility of the media in public mind and reports of the government efforts to control the media are only creating a distaste in the middle class.

Breaking out of communal riots in Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal and UP have exposed the RSS-BJP designs to divide the society and scare the middle class that was the biggest cheer leader of Modi in 2014 and few years after. Disapproval of Modi's pet slogan a 'Congress-mukt Bharat' by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was yet another jolt. Bhagwat had dubbed Congress-mukt Bharat as a political slogan and disapproved it saying it was not the Sangh language.

Even some of the allies of BJP-led NDA alliance are unhappy. While Telgu Desam Party (TDP) of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has walked out of the alliance, the Shiv Sena has been in a rebellious mood threatening to go alone in the next elections. Others are waiting and carefully watching the developing political situation in the country before taking the final plunge.

rrogance and holier than thou attitude of the majority of the BJP ministers in general and Modi-Shah duo in particular has disillusioned friends and foes alike. In fact, this has been one of the biggest contributing factors for uniting the opposition parties. In the prevailing national mood and developing political situation, Modi alone and Shah to large extent would have to lead the battle from the front carrying the additional burden of unwilling and dispirited partners and colleagues on his shoulder in one to one battles in majority of the constituencies. The country is going to witness one of the most aggressive no holds barred accusatory, anti-Muslim and bitter campaigning in weeks and months to come.

Dr. Satish Misra is a Veteran Journalist & Research Associate with Observer Research Foundation.

—[IFS]


News Updated at : Wednesday, April 11, 2018
 
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