Despite the issues to surround government being given on a platter, the opposition is not able to hold the government answerable.
A few days ago, I overheard a conversation when I was entering the building where Press Conference of Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge was scheduled. “Mudde toh bahut saare hain, lekin Modi ko hum gher nahi paa rahe,” (There are many issues but we are still unable to pin Modi government on those issues) said one of the two Congressmen standing near the gate, donned in white Kurta, Pyjama. The other one nodded his head in affirmation.
In the press conference, Kharge did mention the freefall of rupee saying when UPA was in power there would be an outrage from street to parliament. In his own words, “Galli se lekar Dilli tak”. But, as the rupee has plunged a record low and fuel prices have touched the sky, the similar kind of outrage is nowhere to be seen. One may wonder, have these issues stopped affecting the common man or is there more of political laziness to take up these issues? I believe it is the latter.
Today, the rupee has been pushed to an all-time low that ended 71.21 against the dollar, as compared to the previous close of 70.00 on Friday. The petrol and diesel price in Mumbai today is at ₹86.72/litre and at ₹75.74/litre. The recently released RBI report revealed that 99.3% of the demonetised currency has come back to the system exposing government’s hollow promise of Black Money eradication.
The severity of job scarcity can be understood by this incident from UP, where as many as 81,700 graduates applied for 62 vacant positions in the telecom department of the UP Police. Out of the 81,700 graduates, 28,000 are postgraduates and 3,700 are PhD holders. Moreover, the qualification asked by the employers for the post of the messenger is only Class 5th. On the social front, lynchings and mob violence have become a matter of shame for the country. The agrarian crisis is yet to be resolved. These are just a few examples to cite. However, the list of issues that need to be addressed immediately is long.
Petrol, diesel and gas prices are rising and are hitting all time highs daily. Why are opposition parties not hitting the streets? What are they waiting for?
— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) September 4, 2018
Then why, despite the issues to surround government being given on a platter, the opposition is not able to hold the government answerable, let alone creating the anti-government atmosphere. Even former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha called out this slacking approach of opposition towards raising the issues of the public.
In this regard, BJP did play an excellent opposition. Remember how during UPA rule, the party leaders took it to the streets to protest against the rising fuel prices, fall in rupee value and inflation? Right from the top leadership including Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj to the aspirants like Smriti Irani and even the PM candidate Narendra Modi threw themselves into the protest mode and hit the streets along with the party cadre. Right from 2011, these issues and protest created a momentum that eventually led to the anti-government sentiment building. The opposition today, however, seems reluctant to take up the issues that are affecting the common man the most.
As the largest opposition party in the parliament and main opposition party in the country, Congress ought to understand that only social media jibes and commentary will not help the party win 2019. If the party is indeed serious about winning 2019, it has to do more than just Rahul Gandhi tweeting about these issues and holding press conferences sitting in comfy halls. It cannot thus also complain about shrinking public support.
How would people of the country consider the opposition credible enough to vote for them and change the present government if it is constantly failing to gather steam around the issues that matter the public the most? The opposition not only lacks outreach but also communication with the last denominator of the society. Opposition parties may set the agenda on a larger scale, but it is the booth by booth issue redressal that will build the base. The opposition is precisely failing at this micro-management.
The perils of this political unwillingness, however, extend to the opposition itself. With a laid-back attitude on the real issues of people’s bread and butter, convincing the electorate and positioning themselves as an alternative to the Modi juggernaut is an exercise in vain. On the other hand, the lack of on ground movement has let the Modi government get away with serious administrative faults, which betrays the purpose of opposition in the democracy.
Well, until and unless the opposition leaves its ivory tower of entitlement to rule, it will find it hard to survive the brutal electoral battle that BJP has championed.