New Delhi: If a civil society movement led by Anna Hazare was instrumental in the ouster of the UPA government in 2014, another set of activists are now coming together to re-install it.
Some 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) are now trying to get opposition parties to agree to the Common Minimum Program (CMP), over which there is no consensus, in a bid to ensure a pre-poll alliance to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
Some 10,000 activists from these organisations, from across the country, will come together at New Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium on 6 April to put forth the “Jan Sarokar” or the people’s agenda before opposition parties.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav and representatives from the AAP, DMK and the CPI are likely to attend the 6 April gathering, which is being co-organised by the Bengaluru-based socio-political organisation, the Samruddha Bharat Foundation (SBF).
“The SBF is the bridge between the CSOs and the political parties,” said Pushparaj Deshpande, director, SBF.
The CSOs that are part of the 6 April meeting include the Campaign for Survival and Dignity, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, Pension Parishad, One Billion Rising, Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee, National Campaign on Adivasi Rights, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights among others.
Organisations want parties to commit to agenda
Although the opposition parties’ CMP never came through, the CSOs now want them to commit to certain non-negotiable ideas on core sectors such as health, education, economy, minorities and tribal rights among others.
“The CSO’s are trying to seek the support of all like-minded political parties to their charter of demands to help shape public opinion on genuine issues concerning the people,” said CPI’s D Raja, who has also been invited for the April 6 meeting. “We are working on it.”
The proposed pre-poll alliance, which had gained some traction with the frequent meeting of opposition parties in the last few months, lost momentum after the 14 February terror attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Internal differences between the parties over alliances in the state and the CMP also resulted in the initiative to helm an alliance losing momentum.
Efforts are on to revive opposition unity
The opposition parties are now once again making an attempt to join ranks and campaign for each other. For instance, this week saw NC president Farooq Abdullah and Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal campaign for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh.
Other opposition leaders, including Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee and Tejashwi Yadav, are also likely to visit Andhra Pradesh to rally behind TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. Naidu is also likely to go and campaign for other opposition leaders after the first phase of polling is over on April 11.
“Opposition leaders are not missing any opportunity to rally behind each other to end across the message of unity. Now the CSOs putting their weight behind non-BJP opposition parties will give a further boost to the alliance,” said another senior leader of an opposition party.