Rahul Gandhi has effectively set out a strategy for Opposition to unseat BJP from power in 2024 polls
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha on February 2 can emerge as a common minimum programme for a united front of political parties to remove BJP from power in 2024 Lok Sabha elections
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha on February 2 during the debate on President’s address stands out as a major policy programme which has all the points for emerging as a common minimum programme for the political parties which are interested in fighting BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and unseat it from power. He has put forward his points with clarity which have commonality of views with both the regional non-BJP parties and the Left.
There are three main features of Rahul Gandhi’s speech. First the attack on the very concept of Hindutva and here he is unsparing in taking a position against the RSS and the Sangh Parivar. It is a fact that the Congress leader has been very clear in his assertion that the BJP’s policies are leading to the creation of two Indias in all terms - Hindu versus other minorities, especially Muslims; rich versus poor and South versus North (Hindi speaking states). All the three features which he has mentioned are linked.
Significantly, Rahul has been talking of the link between Hindutva and crony capitalism. This has been the refrain of the left parties CPI and the CPI(M) as also the CPI(ML) Liberation since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
The Left has been talking of the neo-liberal-Hindutva agenda of the present regime which is talking of ‘New India’ based on this dual sponsorship. This combination of religious fundamentalism of the majority community and neo-liberalism gives rise to authoritarianism in governance and semi-fascist tendencies in the society. India has been the victim of this political virus in recent years, apart from the pandemic.
The second important feature is Rahul’s exposition of the nature of the economic crisis. He did not come out in support of the future growth of Indian economy based on digitalization. He focused on the acute employment crisis as also the continuing distress in the rural areas. His emphasis was pro-poor.
Rahul Gandhi has definitely positioned himself against the big corporates, as opposed to the BJP which has got high backing from them besides receiving massive funds from overseas.
The third is Rahul’s emphasis on the strengthening of the concept of federalism which has got badly impacted during BJP’s regime. Along with it are the near-collapse of the institutions which had been granted autonomous character under the Indian constitution.
Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik have been talking against the BJP government on the issues of federalism and have become more critical compared to earlier days. Rahul has certainly laid a path of collaboration with them taking into view the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Rahul Gandhi has made special mention of the diversity of language, culture and customs in the states, especially mentioning of the wide differences between the Hindi speaking states and the southern states and underlined how by retaining that diversity, the Indian nation can prosper as the real Union of states.
His emphasis has received instant appreciation from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin. Other regional Chief Ministers like K Chandrasekhar Rao, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee must have also taken note of this.
Of late Both KCR and Naveen have been critical of the Centre on the issue of federalism and KCR’s observations against the Prime Minister this week have been very stern. He has even hinted meeting other Chief Ministers for working on a programme to fight the Centre on this issue.
Coincidentally, on February 2 itself, at the convention of Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata, CM Mamata Banerjee mentioned that the TMC, despite some differences, would like to have the Congress as an ally in the fight against the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The process of filing nominations for state assembly elections in five states is currently on. Though there is no formal alliance against the BJP due to political compulsions of the parties in their states, once the results are out on March 10, the non-BJP parties can have a fair idea of their strengths. That will be the time for the opposition to sit and discuss a foolproof strategy for the next Lok Sabha poll.
A joint leadership of the regional parties and Congress can unseat the BJP from power in the 2024 general elections.
Views are personal