With prime minister Modi cementing his place as the only pan-India leader capable of leading the country, the opposition has been pinning all its hopes on a grand coalition of all opposition parties in order to stop prime minister Modi from securing a landslide victory when the country goes to elections next year. However, the grand alliance due to its very nature seems to be a utopian thought. It is not only marked by inherent rifts and ego clashes but there are a number of contenders who want to lead the coalition by outdoing others. Yet there is no single leader capable of matching prime minister Modi’s persona and popularity.
The problem of multiplicity of prime ministerial candidates within the grand alliance seems to be growing bigger day-by-day. Now, Mayawati’s sycophants have strongly pushed her name as the next prime minister of the country. This is going to further impact the chances of an all-inclusive anti-BJP grand coalition in 2019. Senior leaders of the BSP echoed the long standing ambitions of the party on Monday and gave a clarion call to the party workers in Lucknow to ensure that ‘Behenji’ becomes the next prime minister. This is an audacious and bold announcement given that BSP got an impressive zero in 2014 polls and has sent merely 19 MLAs to the legislative assembly after the 2017 polls. Even in Rajya Sabha, it has only 4 members. It is surprising that such a party can even think of making its leader the prime minister of the country.
BSP national coordinators Vir Singh and Jai Prakash Singh said Mayawati was the only one who could take on prime minister Narendra Modi. Trying to play the Dalit card, Jai Prakash Singh added that Mayawati is not only a towering Dalit leader but also has the support of all other communities. He also reiterated that Mayawati should be made the prime minister in 2019. BSP top brass did not stop here and launched a terse attack on Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi which must have taken the Congress by surprise. In an humiliating dig at Rahul Gandhi, Singh rejected Rahul Gandhi’s credentials for the top post. even Sonia Gandhi’s overseas origin was brought to the fore clearly indicating a rift between the two parties. The BSP leader claimed that “Rahul looks more like his mother than his father. And his mother is a foreigner, thus he can never be prime minister”. It seems that the BSP is scarcely interested in taking the Congress along.
This is not for the first time that the grand alliance is undergoing an irreparable rift. Earlier, rifts had emerged between Mamata Banerjee (another unannounced prime ministerial candidate) and Rahul Gandhi’s Congress. West Bengal Congress president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had then publicly snubbed Mamata making it clear that only Rahul Gandhi can lead an anti-BJP front. And that Mamata Banerjee cannot work alongside the Congress if she harbours prime ministerial ambitions. Mamata Banerjee meanwhile, seemed to be serious about her prime ministerial prospects and was moving around in an attempt to create a better equation with non-Congress leaders. The prospects of an anti-BJP grand alliance was jostled yet again when the NCP chief Sharad Pawar ruled out the possibility of any such alliance.
With Mayawati staking claim to the top post and mercilessly ruling out Rahul Gandhi, it is clear that the grand alliance has broken down in two politically crucial states, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. This is even before formal election campaign has kicked in. It is enough to show that an anti-BJP grand alliance is at best a mere figment of imagination. It is not only impractical but also impossible to forge such an alliance before the 2019 polls. The basis of any political front is undisputed leadership but in this coalition everyone seems to be pitted against other.
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