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Pune Speak Up: Fractured opposition to greet the new parliamen

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 9:09am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Leadership vacuum and organisational weakness within the Congress is labeling it as a weak voice. However, instead of acting as sore losers, the party should aim at building a constructive opposition for the healthy working of a democracy
  • Leadership vacuum and organisational weakness within the Congress is labeling it as a weak voice. However, instead of acting as sore losers, the party should aim at building a constructive opposition for the healthy working of a democracy dna dna Research & Archives

Strong opposition is the need of the hour
The BJP, securing an absolute majority, has two conflicting consequences. A strong ruling under the leadership of Narendra Modi is the positive side of it, which will help the government make clear decisions and policies. While on the other hand, a weak opposition is a worry for the health of the democratic system. Such an opposition can never offer a credible alternative to the majority in power and thus, transparency, integrity and the efficiency with which public affairs are conducted cannot be fully ensured. It can never check the authoritarian policies of the government. For this, the opposition parties must form a stronger front under the leadership of Mayawati, Mamata or Jayalalitha.
Vanisree Ramanathan, faculty, political science

Cong should approach Left Front to make the strong opposition 
After the poll results, it is true that there is no legitimate opposition party that can oppose the government. However, the situation is not new. At the time of Indira Gandhi’s regime, Ram Manohar Lohia had very few followers within the government. However, even then, he was able to hold the ruling party responsible for its various decisions. A strong opposition should have hardworking, knowledgeable and dedicated people. Currently, the Congress alone is not in a position to fulfill the task, but with the help of the Leftist parties, they can emerge as a strong opposition. It is not necessary to have enough numbers to become a legitimate opposition. Dedicated members with fighting spirits can expose the ruling party and have a control over the decision-making process.
Bhai Vaidya, veteran socialist leader

With weak opposition people can expect faster reforms
The BJP has got a mandate of simple majority and given the state of affairs, this is the best that could have happened. The role of the opposition in the Parliament has merely reduced to simply opposing a bill or a motion, even if it is in the overall interest of the nation. It is more about denying the credit of good governance. No doubt that a good opposition is required to improve the quality of debate and getting the best possible results that benefits the nation. But then, these points can be raised even by a handful of wise parliamentarians sitting in the opposition. Given the pathetic governance we had under UPA II despite a strong opposition bench, it is actually good that this time we have a relatively weak opposition. This way, we can expect faster reforms, quicker development through speedy decision making. In any case, an active and free media that India has acts like a strong opposition to keep the government in check.
Girish Deshpande, citizen activist in local governance

Weak opposition: A win-win situation for BJP
The opposition seems to be weak this time with the Congress not having enough numbers to lead it. In fact, there is no other party which can fill in the position of a strong opposition. However, the Congress being a part of the UPA can form an opposition. If the BJP uses its practical hardheaded intelligence, they may bring in Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha on one platform and lead the opposition. It is an opportunity for the BJP, which can help them take decisions unopposed. However, both Jayalalitha and Mamata lead regional parties and cannot represent the opposition at a national platform. As far as the numbers are concerned, the Congress has no space for the opposition, but they have a huge backing of the people at the ground level. Even if Congress leads the opposition, they will have no control over the BJP under any circumstances.
Prakash Pawar, professor, political science

Congress needs to be strategical 
When the BJP was at the opposition, they on many occasion had disrupted the functioning of the Parliament. This time, BJP’s election campaign rode on Hindutva and the development package and they won because it clicked. For the last three years, the country was oblivious to the Congress as a party. It is true that the opposition is weak this time and for the first six months, it will be a honeymoon period for the ruling party. However, the Congress can bring together the regional parties and form a strong opposition. The BJP has increased the expectations of the nation and if they fall short to fulfill them, they might have to face protests. The Congress then can take advantage of the situation to come out as a strong opposition. It will all depend on what strategies the Congress uses.
Kumar Saptrishi, founder, Yuvak Kranti Dal

Credible opposition needs dedicated leaders
It is time for an honest introspection and shunning of politics of tokenism. While in the last three decades, we have been a witness to coalition and consensus building in the formation of government at the centre, this time, one would perhaps, be watching out for a coalition to form a political opposition to take on the new government. A credible opposition not necessarily requires a substantial number but a leader who is committed to the nation. Earlier instances of Rajagopalachari, AK Gopalan, Piloo Mody, Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani were clear indicators that even a numerically small opposition had the capability of taking on a government. The defeat of the Congress party clearly indicates a rejection of politics of patronage, corruption and dynasty rule. So, the debate on having a constructive and credible opposition must address larger issues confronting the parties. 
R. Radhakrishnan, political analyst

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