The shock reversal the Congress received at the hustings has brought some sense of realisation back to the party leadership
The reiteration by several leaders of the Opposition INDIA, including Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, of their faith in the platform has come as a respite for the Congress leadership which is leading the Opposition unity efforts. The refusal by most of the top leaders to attend a meeting on Wednesday had, in fact, triggered rumours about the sustainability of the very idea.
The Congress is indeed the most important player in the grouping and will be the BJP’s main challenge in close to 200 Lok Sabha seats. This would mean that it is primarily in the interest of the grand old party to ensure that the Opposition is able to field a single candidate against the NDA in all the Lok Sabha constituencies.
However, the Congress has not yet sent out signals that it has comprehended the task in its full gravity, leaving the alliance partners with the feeling that the general elections faded from the collective memory of the Congress leadership which lent all its weight behind the efforts to face Assembly elections in five states.
The shock reversal the Congress received at the hustings has brought some sense of realisation back to the party leadership which will now be in a mindset to listen to the allies. The party must realise that each of the members of the bloc is a powerful force in their own right in their areas and attempts to ride roughshod on them would backfire.
The Congress must also recognise the fact that a repeat of the arrogance the party’s leaders in Madhya Pradesh shown to the overtures of the Samajwadi Party regarding seat sharing in the Assembly elections would defeat the very purpose of the grouping — to unify the forces against the BJP. It is now up to the Congress to work out a formula and design an action plan that would carry every partner along and address their concerns while keeping the national goal in focus.