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Posted at: Aug 6, 2018, 12:04 AM; last updated: Aug 6, 2018, 12:04 AM (IST)

CWC, Rahul deliberate

Sidestepping ambitions on way to broad Opposition unity
CWC, Rahul deliberate

The second meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership deliberated on the National Register of Citizens, unemployment and the Rafale fighter deal, besides deciding not to have a CM face in polls to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Assemblies. That meeting would have counted as routine organisational stock-taking. But if  the interaction of a ‘top Congress leader’ (read Rahul Gandhi) with the media a day earlier is factored in, the three issues deliberated by the CWC then assume shape of stepping stones for a broader Opposition unity by seekign to build a convincing rationale for voting the present formation out of power.

The Congress, according to the `top leader’, has already walked some distance towards that goal by prioritising alliances in UP and covering some ground in Bihar and Maharashtra as well. The three states, besides Madhya Pradesh, are crucial in the Congress-led Opposition’s battle plans for 2019 because of the lopsided nature of the ruling party’s Lok Sabha composition: it notched up bulk of its winners from `Ram country’. In contrast, the Modi factor was not as encashable electorally in nearly 200 Lok Sabha seats. 

The path to opposition unity is thorny. Potential partners will be prone to inducements and intimidation from the ruling alliance. But the burden is on the Congress to take the lead to win the game rather than try to preserve the ancien regime’s lien on the party. The operative assumption, however, remains that the Congress needs to learn organisational lessons from its steady run of defeats for the past four years. PM Modi still enjoys a formidable political reputation and can be effectively challenged only if the alliance operates with a common agenda that exposes the actual ground situation versus manipulated reality. In the smoke and mirrors game, the Opposition has moved towards maximising its assets, but it needs to work around the limitation of the absence of the spirit of self-abnegation among its leaders.


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