'Let NDA Govern India': Unsolicited Advice to INDIA and INC

'Let NDA Govern India': Unsolicited Advice to INDIA and INC

With Both NDA and INDIA forming the Parliamentary package for the coming 5 years it is prudent that the NDA continue to lead the government, with the Congress led INDIA taking on the mantle of a very strong opposition
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Any one with a non-partisan intellect will congratulate the INDIA bloc led by the Congress, on its valiant campaign in the just concluded national general elections. The INDIA bloc has been successful in applying brakes on the alleged efforts of antagonistic forces to change the character of Indian polity, which would have imposed an authoritarian regime in India. This, more appreciably so, when the political parties forming INDIA bloc were not given even a modicum of level playing field. They were selectively targetted by taking advantage of the ruling party's constitutional hold over every agency of the government and state institutions. The Congress party, especially, was the major target as its bank accounts were also seized. It is also worth noting that the bloc is having matching numbers in Parliament now, to take on the BJP.

Further there are many noteworthy points to take into cogniscance in the post 2024 elections scenario - on the one hand INC has almost doubled its numbers while on the other the mighty BJP has lost its hold on 63 seats, thereby needing the props of the other NDA allies despite the shout outs of “abki baar 400 paar”. The achievement of the Congress, in comparison, in increasing its strength from 52 to 100 has proved wrong the estimates propagated by the honourable PM and TMC chief during the course of campaigns. The Honorary PM had said time and again that the ‘Shahzada’ will get less numbers than his age and the TMC chief predicted less than forty seats for the INC. The Congress high command deserves full credit for this achievement. Yet another noteworthy point is that our Parliament will have a recognised Leader of Opposition after a decade. Presence of an opposition with matching numbers together with a Leader of Opposition will have a positive impact on the over-all functioning in the Parliament. Yet another additional point is that the present government is a minority government depending on the support of its allies in the NDA. It will be interesting to watch PM Modi for the first time heading a coalition government in his political innings both in Gujarat and Delhi.

In the public domain, pessimism was looming on the INDIA bloc just before announcement of the election dates, as the bloc looked like a loose army headed by many Chiefs. Added to it was the deception by Nitish Kumar at the eleventh hour. The parties in the INDIA bloc also fought against each other in Delhi, Punjab, Bengal, Kerala and the TMC kept itself away during all the seven phases of voting. However, during the election campaigning the bloc looked strong and cohesive and the results are visible in black and white. If the INDIA bloc is able to maintain the same cooperation and cohesion in Parliament, the state elections in India in the near future are likely to witness a new model of politics. It will be worth watching, whether the might of the BJP will allow this to happen.

However, when one notices the events leading to formation of government, allocation of portfolios, attitude and behaviour of main-stream media, one finds that there is hardly any change. Both the bottle and its contents are the same.  Only a cosmetic change in numbers is not going to make the difference that has been envisaged by INDIA bloc.

This view gets support from the fact that Modiji bypassed the necessity of first convening a BJP Parliamentary meeting to choose him as its leader.  Instead, he directly convened a meeting of the MPs of NDA and became their leader, went to the Hon. President to present their (NDA) claim to forming the government. The Hon President offered him sweetened curd as a good omen, took oath, appointed his team of Ministers and allocated portfolios to them - all this shows that things are the same. Hon PM is the Master of ceremony. No one can challenge his supremacy. NDA for him is just an extension of his BJP.  In case the constituents of NDA allow him also to install a Lok Sabha Speaker like Om Birla then it will another uphill task for India and INDIA. The talks of his government being on props and falling anytime, looks like a figment of imagination. The presence of Amit Shah as Home Minister is enough guarantee to keep things in balance for the PM and BJP (at the moment).

Having said this, it will be prudent if the INDIA bloc lets the government run its show and avoid talking and thinking of talking of unreliable ‘Leaders’ like Nitish Kumar or any other group or individuals, as is being heard amongst the constituents of the bloc. Also, it would be more beneficial to the bloc if TMC is kept out of the fold, because it will never allow INDIA any moment of comfort whether in Government or the Opposition. Rather, arrangements prevailing in Bihar, UP, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala must be further strengthened by continuing the barter policy. Further, the joint efforts of INDIA bloc in Parliament, to compel the Government to take to voting on crucial issues, will only enhance their own relevance. On major issues, they should jointly go to the people directly through the power of their public access.

As for the INC, which is the leading partner having all India presence, the task forward is more crucial. Rebuilding the party from the grass root level upwards, ensuring its internal functioning on democratic pattern, screening and weeding out the remaining opportunists,  adherence to its century old ideology, rejection of cultivating show boys and poster boys are some of the priority points that the trio of Mallikarjun Khadge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should consider. They must remember that Congress’s efforts in the past to make a dent in BJP’s core support by following a policy different from their own have been damaging the party very badly and made the party’s tryst to public acceptance almost impossible, till Rahul Gandhi embarked on his Bharat Jodo Yatra. It were the streets of India, which throughout the Yatra gave the party confidence, which had been badly wounded in the past. It was the effect of this Yatra that the next Nyaya Yatra was more successful. Rahul Gandhi got his well-deserved recognition as a serious challenger to Modiji and his ‘Pappu’ image evaporated instantly. Pappu was elevated to Shehzada. The INC and Rahulji will do better if they endeavour to make Congress a party of the common man. Along with these efforts, the Congress party must note that the era of a single party rule all over the country is long gone and the regional parties and their leaders cannot be ignored. In fact, their presence will keep the federal character of Indian state intact. The Congress should, therefore, further cement the relationship now prevailing in various states as indicated above. Rahul Gandhi should also include Aditya Thakare from Shiv Sena in his team of “ladke”.

Finally, let NDA govern India with Modiji as the Prime Minister as per the mandate given by the voters of India. The INDIA bloc needs to secure for itself the much-warranted space of a vibrant opposition as deserved by them in a Parliamentary form of Government of the world’s largest democracy. The ruling bloc, in the meantime, should avoid undemocratic actions like the mass expulsion of opposition members, etc. for its own convenience.

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