Missing leaders

The poorly attended meeting of opposition parties against Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move shows they have failed to capitalize on this political moment


Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

The opposition parties’ Tuesday meeting, where the government’s currency swap measure was to be the lead item on the agenda, was supposed to be a show of strength. Instead, the poorly attended meeting has shown that no major opposition party has been able to truly capitalize on this political moment.

The Congress, as the self-proclaimed leader of the opposition, tried and has failed so far. But other opposition parties haven’t done much better either. Anti-Narendra Modi sound bites apart, no regional satrap has taken ownership of the issue—West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is still at it, but her criticism is too insubstantial.

This failure to cohere for the sake of political advantage points to a broader trend. It has now been more than two years since the Bharatiya Janata Party graduated from leading the opposition to the treasury benches. That is more than enough time in politics for the opposition to reconfigure itself. But it seems 2016 will end without a viable opposition leadership emerging.

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