When it comes to perception war, BJP is way ahead of Congress party and other opposition parties. The opposition has suffered setbacks one after another. In the beginning of the Monsoon session, the opposition suffered a humiliating defeat in the no-confidence motion in the lower house of the parliament. Recently, BJP scored a big win in the Sangli municipal elections by defeating the Congress-NCP alliance and also swept the Jalgaon civic body in Maharashtra.
As far as the opposition is concerned the two strong points in this ‘perception war’ that the opposition has is BJP’s series of defeats in by-poll elections and the BJP’s failure to form the government in Karnataka despite being the single largest party in the state.
Apart from this the opposition is a complete failure on all the other fronts. The first and foremost weakness of the opposition is its lack of any core agenda. The opposition is depending solely on the anti-Modi narrative. They have nothing substantial to offer to the common public of India apart from removing PM Modi. This is the most absurd election strategy ever.
The next thing which goes against the opposition is the lack of leadership. The myth of united opposition is already broken by Mamata Banerjee and other leaders. Apart from this there are too many PM aspirants in the united opposition, also self-interests of each and every party are coming in the way of the opposition’s unity. The BSP also rejected any possibility of alliance with the INC for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly elections this year. The INC refused to form an alliance with the BSP in Rajasthan, which goes on to show their ‘dedication’ towards opposition unity.
In the past, Mamata Banerjee along with KCR had pitched the idea of a federal front to take on the BJP, without the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. Just few days ago, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that her party will contest on all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. In Maharashtra also, Sharad Pawar is taking proactive approach in a united opposition against the BJP. The Congress is cautious of Sharad Pawar, and they don’t want Sharad Pawar to play such a proactive role. Another important regional leader KCR is giving hints that he might go with the BJP after the elections. Other regional parties and regional leaders are also in conflict with the Congress party. One of the reasons why regional parties are having so much difference with the Congress is because the Congress is fighting to stop the BJP from coming to power whereas regional parties are fighting for their existence. The Congress has its cadre across the country and it would bounce back surely in the near future if it wants to. However, for the regional parties, it’s a do or die situation. If things keep on going like the way it is now then it would lead towards a three-cornered fight in the 2019 general elections with NDA, Congress and the united opposition.
Corruption is still a major issue. Taints of 60 years of corruption cannot go by 5 years of exile from the power. In the minds of common folks, the image of Congress party is still that of a corrupt party. Its senior leaders are facing serious charges of corruption. Nirav Modi, Mallya and Choksi are the product of the NPA mess created by the Congress party. Some of the regional leaders of the united opposition are also facing serious corruption cases which might end up working against them.
Another thing which goes against the Congress party is the prevalence of dynasty culture in the party. Dynasts are given more preference over competent and hardworking party worker or leader. The party president himself is the biggest example of rampant dynasty culture in the Congress. Other big dynasts include the name of Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, Sandeep Dikshit, Gaurav Gogoi and many other leaders who have got the high position in the party primarily because of their ancestry and not because of their talent and political acumen.
Another major perception against the Congress party is its anti-Hindu image. It is widely believed that the Congress party is all about Muslim appeasement. The Congress party and its leaders are too well known for their appeasement tactics. One of the main reasons behind the shellacking of the Congress party in almost every election since 2014 is its minority appeasement politics. The Congress party had set up the AK Antony Committee tasked to delve into the reasons behind the party’s rout in the 2014 General Elections. The committee in its report noted minority appeasement as one of the reasons responsible for the poor run of results that the Congress experienced.
Instead of focussing in their strategy, the Congress party is indulging even more blatantly into appeasement politics. Most recently, Congress leaders have defended the treacherous and inhumane practice of Female Genital Mutilation, they also supported outdated and misogynistic practices like Triple Talaq, Nikah-Halala and Polygamy and supported the demands for setting up of Sharia courts in every district of India. In order to appease the radicals from a minority community, the party is seems to be more than ready to trounce upon the basic rights of women. With Rahul Gandhi’s latest alleged statement that Congress is a Muslim party, it seems they’re ready to trounce on secularism as well. Its senior leader Shashi Tharoor makes remark about India becoming Hindu-Pakistan. Deliberate attempt of Shashi Tharoor to provoke majority community and polarize the minority community has fallen flat on his face. Recently, he again came up with another controversial remark about the Naga tribes’ traditional headgear. Shashi Tharoor said, “Why does our Prime Minister, who wears all sorts of outlandish headgear wherever he goes around the country, refuse to wear a Muslim skullcap? You’ve seen him in hilarious Naga headdress, feathers, and various kinds of extraordinary outfits. Why does he refuse to wear the green?”. Such absurd statements are likely to harm the party’s prospect in the 2019 General elections. Congress party’s confused stand on NRC added insult to the injury. It has added more to the pro-Muslim perception and also sent the message among the people of Assam and North-East that Congress is an anti-Hindu party.
Last but not the least, the opposition failed to divide NDA, JD (U) is still standing very strongly with the BJP, the Shiv Sena is confused but still it is in the NDA camp. Recently, Shiv Sena extended support to NDA’s candidate for the election of the Rajya Sabha deputy speaker. Also, other leaders of Southern India are giving signals that they might join the NDA camp after the parliamentary elections. If it happens then the clout of NDA would increase in the Parliament and also in the country.