Home/ Elections 2019 / Lok Sabha Elections 2019/  Elections 2019: Divided opposition helps BJP

KOLKATA/SERAMPORE : The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, and the Congress may speak of forming a front to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but voters are confused by the contradictions in their stand on the ground. This confusion may just help the BJP in the state.

The fact that these parties talk of defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi but have not been able to finalize an alliance is a clear concern for voters. They’re worried that regional differences will play out at the centre too, upsetting the working of a stable government.

“The opposition parties cannot unite in West Bengal, how will they come together and work at the national level," asks Pradeep Rai Choudhary, a 64-year-old auto parts dealer in Serampore constituency. “It is not that chief minister Mamata Banerjee has not done good work, but this is an election to choose a prime minister, not a chief minister."

While the opposition parties admit that the inability to form a pan-India alliance could cost them, senior TMC leaders said the primary issue for the 2019 general elections is to oust Prime Minister Modi.

“Our only focus is to defeat Modi. A lot of opposition parties, including TMC, are determined to remove him from power. We have not spoken of a pan-India alliance. Mamata Banerjee has always said that the party that is strongest in a particular state should take the lead in fighting Modi. An alliance will take shape only after the results are declared," said Saugata Roy, senior TMC leader.

But it’s precisely this single-minded agenda of “getting Modi out no matter what" that could work against TMC, Congress and other parties.

Voters would like to know what the opposition’s plans are—apart from defeating Modi.

“Absolute power to one party at the national and state level is not ideal. If the opposition parties are strong in West Bengal and in Delhi, it will strengthen democracy. But we need viable options to Modi, and that is missing in this election," said Ayan Chakravarty, a 50-year-old lawyer at the local court in Serampore.

The dismal performance of the Congress and Left in state and general elections has convinced voters that neither party can defeat TMC nor challenge BJP.

“We admit that the organizational network of Congress is weak in West Bengal and people have started thinking that BJP could be an alternative to TMC. We will have to prove that Congress is an alternative to both TMC and BJP," said Somen Mitra, state Congress president.

Members of opposition parties said that the biggest challenge for BJP is regional parties rather than a national party like Congress.

TMC leaders said Congress has been unable to adjust to the changing political situation across the country and is no longer the force it once was. The national party is now dependent on regional players, they said. Congress has failed to realise that it does not have the cadre or support base to defeat BJP alone, and will need to forge alliances with regional parties to remain relevant, they added.

To read more stories on Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

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Updated: 25 Apr 2019, 11:10 PM IST
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