By Alok Verma
The grand old Congress party is already reduced to insignificance due to its disconnect with priorities and psyche of masses. The party is now seeking its relevance in the national politics through the concept of Mahagatbandhan or grand alliance on the strength of regional parties, already fighting for protecting their own relevance. Some of these parties don’t even have a significant following. The architect of the term Mahagatbandhan in Bihar Nitish Kumar did not even participate in the meeting for the national alliance at behest of the Congress Party.
In fact, each time the term Mahagatbandhan is used by these parties to unite, the message gets stronger of their weakness and insignificance. Each such meeting of Mahagatbandhan by the Opposition will strengthen the BJP. Because the purpose of the Mahagatbandhan is not to come together for serving the people or serving the national interests but to fight against the BJP. When the motive is to wrest power, not to work for people, the Congress Party or the other regional parties stand to face further marginalisation.
Any discussion and consideration on a Ccongress led Mahagatbandhan must be assessed and evaluated on at least one major factor which will majorly decide the people’s preference towards casting their vote. And, this factor would be the choice of the leader by Mahagatbandhan to match up to the leadership quality of Narendra Modi. Time and again it has been established that the Congress vice president Rahul Gandi has neither demonstrated the acceptable leadership qualities nor exuded sticky charisma nor earned the national appeal. Moreover, he is no match to Narendra Modi’s magical oratory, clarity of thoughts and personality domination. If Rahul Gandhi is still going to be the choice, leaders of Mahagatbandhan must work on him for his complete transformation. And, the time is running out.
Hence, is there a chance for other leaders to lead Mahagatbandhan? Unlikely. Whether the Congress Party will be amenable to accept Nitish Kumar or Akhilesh Yadav, who may still have a better national appeal to stand up against Narendra Modi, the answer is in negative. Why, because it is unthinkable for the Congress party to play as a second fiddle.
The other card of being a secular front vs communal front has also be losing its sheen fast, at least amongst the young voters. The binaries of secular-communal are not overtly working as electorates are still guided by politics of economics and politics of caste. Despite the BJP’s push for development card agenda in the recent UP assembly elections voters simply could not rise above caste considerations. Therefore, the alleged dangers of communalism may be an issue of a few, rightly so but most are indifferent.
Even the Mahagatbandhan finally gets formed poll math doesn’t add up linearly. It is not like one can simply add all alliance votes together to get a majority vote share. Like any other elections there will be various other factors—fight for seats, defections and disenchanted party workers who will pull down votes on both sides. Besides, there are community x vs community y equations. In short, votes don’t neatly add up when an alliance is formed.
A grand alliance in 1977 worked because it was led by stalwarts such as Jaiprakash Narain, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, J B Kriplani etc.
Unless Narendra Modi screws up big or the Mahaghatbandhan brings a towering personality with a grand vision, Raisina Hills is safe.