Opposition MPs march from Gandhi statue to Ambedkar statue in protest against the recent farm and labour bills, during the ongoing Monsoon Session, at Parliament House in New Delhi | Kamal Kishore | PTI
Opposition MPs march from Gandhi statue to Ambedkar statue in protest against the recent farm and labour bills, during the ongoing Monsoon Session, at Parliament House in New Delhi in September 2020 | Kamal Kishore | PTI
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In the run-up to the 2014 general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a bunch of Muslim clerics. In one such meeting, a cleric tried to place a skull cap on Modi’s head. But the latter politely declined to wear the skull cap, and the cleric obliged accordingly.

Back then, I was of the opinion that Modi should have worn the skull cap, which would have helped him win a few Muslim voters. But now, when Mamata Banerjee brought up her ‘gotra‘ at a public rally, it made me realise how naïve I was back then. Modi politely declining to wear the skull cap shows how smart of a politician he is.

To make my argument clearer, let’s assume he had agreed to wear the skull cap. This would have weakened his Hindu nationalist image and people who voted for him because of this aspect of his politics would not have liked this stunt. Across the aisle, people who were critical or disapproved of his Hindu nationalist ideology would have criticised him, describing it as a cheap political stunt.

It wouldn’t have cleared the apprehensions that the minority generally has about him, either. Also, no one is that naïve that Modi wearing a skull cap would have made someone vote for him. So, declining politely was the most brilliant way out without incurring collateral damages.

Opposition falls for BJP’s bait

There is a length in cricket called teasing (“baiting”) length and it is a length that lures batsman into playing a drive, but often the ball ends up nicking the bat and batsman gets caught behind.

This analogy is quite apt for today’s political scenario — the BJP is the bowler and the Opposition is the rusty batsman unable to time the ball. If you follow closely, BJP strategically lays a trap for the Opposition, and the latter walks right into it.

For example, during the the Gujarat elections, Rahul Gandhi was on a temple run, proving the BJP’s allegation of the Congress being opportunistic Hindu. The election was close enough because of the alliances that Congress made and not because of the temple run.

Again when the government scrapped Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool Congress either voted in favour or abstained from voting — in a way, dancing to the tunes of the BJP.

The 2019 elections saw Arvind Kejriwal flexing his Hindu identity. The Delhi government’s recent Budget marks Kejriwal’s sharp turn to the Right, once again playing into the hands of the BJP.

The Rafale issue crash-landed even before it had taken off with the BJP cleverly turning the question around by saying the Congress was insensitive towards India’s national security. Meanwhile, Congress kept insinuating foul play without backing it with proper facts and figures.

The BJP sets the stage for a campaign and the Opposition fights the election rebutting the BJP.

Instead, it should have its own agenda to fight every election. The Opposition should also attack the Achilles’ heel of the BJP — the economy, migrant crisis, employment to name a few and not try to break the BJP’s defence. The opposition parties are lost in the maze of proving that they are not BJP by doing things that BJP does best.

Mamata Banerjee bringing her gotra into the picture is yet another example of how the BJP baits the Opposition.

The Opposition needs to first practise the drive perfectly before hitting the ball for a boundary. The sooner they realise this, the better it would be for them and India’s democracy. You can’t beat BJP in its own game.

Harshit Padia is a student Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat

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2 COMMENTS

  1. And what is exactly not playing the game of the BJP? Not voting in favour of the abrogation of article 370 despite thinking it is necessary for India? Fighting farm laws despite agreeing with them?

    I agree nobody wil vote for TMC just because Banerjee speaks of her gotra because her dishonesty is blattant. Such a move doesn’t correspond to her past stands. But that’s the point, people vote for honesty not for tactics. When AAP voted in favour of the abrogation of article 370, it made a honest move and people applauded it for it.

    For the opposition to be credible, it needs a credible candidate, a credible programme and a credible party. Rahul Gandhi is an amateur politician, at the head of a party by virtue of birth. The opposition doesn’t propose anything better than a return to nehruvian socialism that didn’t work. Manmohan Singh at least had the credentials of an economist and those of tge former FM who opened up indian economy. As far as a credible party is concerned, there are none in the opposition. Congress is now a shadow of its former self and parties like TMC or AIDMC have no national outreach and organisation.

    There are only two national parties in India and one is defunct. When Indians will be fed up with BJP, they won’t have a national choice and we will again end with regional parties over represented in parliament, a terrible situation for national integration.

    Opposition parties have lost all credibility and look dishonest. They can’t fight off BJP not because BJP does everything well but because it is seen as acting honestly and doing its best.

  2. Opposition should realise it can’t defeat BJP at its game, Modi with his clean image can subsume the odd balls. Do not think he will hesitate to act on big corruption issue if one is attempted under his watch. He has built this image over years and at least today there appears to be no one on the political horizon to stand up to him.
    Politicians, intellectuals, and media are for some reason unwilling to accept that this one quality of personal financial integrity will ensure that the any attack on his Achilles’ heel will be very difficult in making a dent his image not even his genuine mistakes .
    Only the Rams, Bhushans, Aruns and Yashwants of the world know this hence the continued search for his Achilles’ heel .

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