At HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, a new political formula was born to fight against the electoral machine of BJP – a grand alliance of opposition parties.
A Mahagathbandhan or a grand alliance of political parties has set the stage for the upcoming battle elections against the Modi government. This formula has seemingly brought together numerous opposition parties after many years.
The BJP-led NDA government celebrated its 4-year anniversary two days back. The 38-year-old BJP has witnessed a transformational journey – from once having power in just seven states to controlling 21 states (at present). Furthermore, its seat tally in the Lok Sabha rose from 116 to 282.
It all started in 2013 when Narendra Modi was elected as the PM candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections against the ruling UPA government, which was completing its second term.
BJP’s electoral machine has marked new records in India’s political history with their sweeping wins. In four years, the BJP under the leadership of Amit Shah And Narendra Modi became more inclined to emerge as a winning machine. A ‘clean sweeper’ in the elections, whether it be the panchayat or state assembly elections, the BJP always emerged as the victor.
This BJP juggernaut has become the nightmare of opposition parties, even those that are at loggerheads with each other. It’s just that politicians have no morals when it comes to winning – something we have also seen recently in the Karnataka state elections.
This is also the reason why we need to understand this ‘grand coalition’ which may soon become a reality.
1. Mamata Banerjee and Sitaram Yechury: Both were together on the stage on Wednesday in Karnataka.
Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been the chief minister of West Bengal from 2011. On the other hand, Sitaram Yechury hails from CPM, the opponent of TMC in Bengal.The Left had supported the UPA 1 government, but withdrew their support in 2008.
2. Sharad Pawar: Sharad Pawar is a former Congress leader and the president of the National Congress Party (NCP). He left the Congress in 1999 after opposing Sonia Gandhi’s decision to contest as Congress’ PM candidate. He then formed the NCP – with the prime agenda to stop Sonia Gandhi from becoming PM.
On Wednesday, both were seen raising hands together on the same stage.
3. Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati: At the state level, both these leaders are extreme rivals, and have frequently criticised each other’s parties in the past. The Mayawati government had even arrested Mulayam Singh Yadav (Akhilesh’s father) once.
4. HD Deve Gowda: HD Deve Gowda of Janata Dal (United) took oath as the 11th Prime Minister of India on June 1, 1996. But soon, his government fell apart on April 21, 1997, after the Congress withdrew its support.
Despite their clashing histories, all of them had gathered together during the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy as Karnataka’s 18th CM, who has formed a coalition government with the Congress.
When it comes to politics, history repeats itself too often. The current situation reminds me of two cases.
1. In 1975, all the parties came against another powerful PM Indira Gandhi, as the Janata Party took charge with Morarji Desai as the first non-Congress PM. But the grand coalition did not last longer than two years and 126 days.
2. In 1989, when parties united against PM Rajiv Gandhi under the National Front, and VP Singh became the 7th PM of India. The BJP had supported the National Front from the outside at that time.
Today too, all these parties which have opposed each other at various times, are now united to fight Modi. After all, nearly all of them have lost in their individual fights against the BJP – and what better way to stop the BJP than by joining hands!
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will therefore be quite interesting and a perfect case-study for political researchers and analysts.