Opposition unity, what’s that?
Nothing highlights it better than the radio silence on the rapidly moving political developments in Karnataka and Goa. While the Congress in Goa has been practically mauled, it is struggling to stay afloat in Karnataka. But while the Congress has protested inside Parliament with other regional parties participating in photo-op protests, the big regional chieftains have stayed off the implosion with the oldest national party.
How things have changed from the pre-May 23 period to now. In the run-up to the general elections, opposition conclaves, secret meetings, photo-ops were the order of the day. But now all the political guns have fallen silent, perhaps not realising that what is happening in Karnataka and Goa today could repeat in their states very soon. The opposition is in complete disarray after the mauling it received in the elections.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who floated the idea of a Federal Front, meeting HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru, is watching the Karnataka drama unfold without pitching in with his support. While he could not care less about the Congress implosion having greenlighted the admission of 12/18 MLAs from the party to the TRS in Telangana, the fact remains that it takes down a regional party with it.
Jaganmohan Reddy who depends on the Centre’s magnanimity for funds for Andhra Pradesh, has kept quiet as well. This despite the Gowdas reaching out to him soon after he came to power, by sending Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil to meet him in Amaravati.
Even Chandrababu Naidu who hopped from city to city, canvasing support for an anti-BJP front, has fallen silent. This despite Gowda pitching for him as PM and Naidu’s own personal rapport with Rahul Gandhi in the run-up to the elections. Naidu himself is besieged with an aggressive BJP trying to empty the Telugu Desam. The four TDP Rajya Sabha MPs who moved over to the BJP are now being used to lure at least 16 of the 23 MLAs that Naidu has, in order to avoid the anti-defection law and become the main opposition force in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. Facing such an imminent threat at home, Naidu has no firepower to support others.
Mamata Banerjee could be under attack next with BJP’s Mukul Roy playing mindgames, talking of over one hundred MLAs of the CPM, Congress and TMC being in touch with his party.
With the SP-BSP alliance breaking, no one knows what is Mayawati’s position vis-a-vis the BJP now. Her lone MLA in Karnataka is still sailing with the JD(S) with who the BSP had fought the election together in 2018. But he has requested separate seating arrangement in the Assembly.
To a large extent, the Congress has itself to blame for the isolation. Not only is its defeat a factor but the manner in which it has reacted to it with several resignations means no one seems to be in charge of the party at the moment. It is groping in the dark while the BJP has run away with the torch.