In the face of a fractured mandate that the opposition is banking on, the idea is to get the first invite as the single largest party through a united forum. However, the President has discretionary powers on who to call first, in such circumstances
New Delhi: The not-so-united opposition has decided to unite for their own sake. This time, apprehensive of a lack of performance, twenty-one opposition parties plan to meet just 48 hours before the result of Elections 2019 are out. Reason? To agree to bury the hatchet and to get the first invite from the President if the NDA falls short of the magic number.
In the face of a fractured mandate that the opposition is banking on, the idea is to get the first invite as the single largest party through a united forum. However, the President has discretionary powers on who to call first, in such circumstances.
The opposition meeting
File photo of United opposition
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has already met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday to discuss this matter. Naidu will also be chatting with his Bengal counterpart, Mamata Banerjee on the sidelines on campaigning for her party in Bengal. Meanwhile, Telangana Rashtriya Samiti boss, K Chandrashekhar Rao, whose proximity to PM Modi in recent times was being talked about, has met Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan as well.
The opposition expects 336 to come down to 272
But the preparedness of the parties is based on the assumption that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will fall short of 272. BJP alone got 282 seats in 2014, and the NDA got 336. With Balakot recurring as a reference point and Modi bringing out Gandhi's blast from the past like Rajiv Gandhi vacationing in Indian Navy's aircraft carrier, the NDA flunking does not look like an efficient possibility.
Opposition Parties Meeting the President on December 16, 2016
However, it will be interesting to have a glance back at how some of the key parties among the 21 fared in 2014.
It was Congress' worst ever performance ever. The national party was cut to a sorry figure of 44 which didn't allow them to get an opposition leader. A four-member panel — headed by former defence minister AK Antony — was set up by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi to find out the reason for the extraordinary rout.
Telugu Desam Party
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's party which went to poll as an NDA ally in 2014, got 16 seats. The party this time is out of the NDA and is facing anti-incumbency in its home turf of Andhra Pradesh.
Nationalist Congress Party
Sharad Pawar's party got a mere six seats in 2014. The foundation of Pawardom in Baramati was also looking shaky. Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule barely won from Baramati. Praful Patel and Chhagan Bhujbal - two key faces lost the election.
Aam Aadmi Party
The party which was known as the 'Delhi Party' opened its Lok Sabha kitty in 2014 with four seats. Most seats were from Punjab where it hoped to win big in the Assembly election. While that didn't happen, most of its Punjab leadership either joined the BJP or the Congress, leaving it with very little room to explore in Punjab this election.
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The party that once controlled the PM in UPA got only nine seats in 2014. It not only brought down its remaining influence in West Bengal but initiated the end of the story in Tripura. Eventually, the party lost power in the state in 2018.
Communist Party of India
The CPI was minimised to just one seat
The TMC fared well relatively, given its core presence was only in one state - Bengal. The TMC got 34 seats. But the BJP is betting big on the state with a growing saffron surge. Even if BJP gets half of what it claimed it would win in Bengal this time, it will come at the cost of Mamata's TMC.
The Yadav-based party faced a sorry fate in 2014 with just five seats. However, in 2019 that is expected to improve. But given that the SP-BSP-RLD alliance are facing a triangular fight with BJP and Congress in Uttar Pradesh, many believe the chances of SP increasing its tally manifold are scuttled.
Bahujan Samaj Party
The BSP drew a big zero in 2014 leaving it with no MP. It was one of the shoddiest results for them. Though it is expected to change this time, with an alliance with SP and RLD, seat sharing has already taken a hit. A triangular fight in UP may eventually end up helping BJP in many seats. Moreover, many Yadav votes may not necessarily transfer to BSP's kitty though many Dalit votes may transfer to SP's side.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Battered with 2G scam and a strong Jayalalitha still reigning in, DMK scored a fantastic zero. Though it is likely to do reasonably well this time, the alliance BJP has formed with much smaller parties may end up limiting its chance to score big.
With such a history and such prospect, will this last-ditch effort to stop Narendra Modi work?
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Last Updated May 9, 2019, 7:25 PM IST