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  Opinion   Edit  26 Mar 2024  AA Edit | After Kejriwal’s arrest, Oppn showing a sense of purpose

AA Edit | After Kejriwal’s arrest, Oppn showing a sense of purpose

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 26, 2024, 12:44 am IST
Updated : Mar 26, 2024, 12:44 am IST

Opposition gears up for a decisive 'Maha Rally' amidst heightened political tensions and electoral uncertainties.

 Congress leader Abhishek Manusinghvi with other INDIA Bloc leaders addresses the media after meeting the Election Commission of India over the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, March, 22, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
  Congress leader Abhishek Manusinghvi with other INDIA Bloc leaders addresses the media after meeting the Election Commission of India over the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, March, 22, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

The decision of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc to hold a ‘Maha Rally’ in Delhi on March 31 appears to signal that the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister and Aaam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejrwiwal has infused a sense of purpose into otherwise teetering Opposition plans.

The Opposition parties had formed the I.N.D.I.A. platform to take on the NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha election and unseat it from power at the Centre. It, however, has failed to project itself as a cohesive unit yet with a plan of action and a mechanism to execute it, what with the main partners pursuing individual  goals at the cost of a common one. The state elections that came in between should have been a unifier but they proved to be otherwise, further disintegrating the bloc.

However, the extreme steps the Union government under the BJP takes against its political opponents have done two things: one, it has infused a sense of urgency into the Opposition plans, and two, they have betrayed the ruling party’s desperation. It was not new that the government has been using the Central agencies to hunt down political opponents who found it a tough proposition to fight back. 

It was only two weeks ago the Supreme Court threw out a case against Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate; he had spent 50 days in jail in the case. However, there had been no consistent Opposition protest against the government’s ways of hunting it. The arrest of a chief minister in office has changed it all.

The NDA was comfortably perched in the election campaign with high prospects of a return, with most pre-poll surveys buttressing the BJP claim. Though an odd voice will point to the discomfort at the grassroots thanks mainly to the high rate of unemployment, the pre-eminent voice that was heard over all others was of optimism. The electoral bonds of course would have an impact as reports about the possibility of quid pro quo deals behind corporates donating them to parties in power can upset the BJP, too. The virtual freezing of the account of the principal Opposition party, crippling its day-to-day functioning weeks before the general elections, apart from a Chief Minister’s arrest, can be easily interpreted as the signs of some trepidation within the NDA itself. The events after the announcement of dates for the Lok Sabha polls have changed the dynamics of the elections a bit. The NDA which seemed impregnable has started taking steps which offer very little in return in terms electoral dividends but could in fact harm it while the Opposition has got more reasons to stay together and fight the NDA. The I.N.D.I.A. bloc took almost eight months to conduct the first rally but the second and third have been organised in quick succession. The Delhi rally will see the Congress and AAP, which have been at each other’s throat till recently, working together for its success. It will be interesting to watch how the trends develop into political realities.

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