LS Polls 2024: A 'Unified Opposition' Taking On a Force To Be Reckoned With...

A total of sixteen parties participated in the Opposition party leaders’ meeting chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament.
LS Polls 2024: A 'Unified Opposition' Taking On a Force To Be Reckoned With...
LS Polls 2024: A 'Unified Opposition' Taking On a Force To Be Reckoned With...

Just a year away from Lok Sabha elections and a sudden sense of ‘unity’ has seemingly encompassed the Opposition parties in the country with several of them coming together this time of the year, with only one objective in their holster - defeating the dominant BJP.

Several meetings of key leaders were held in an attempt to oust the BJP which has probably become a chimera by now, but to focus on an alternate reality – the brute majority of the BJP in the current Lok Sabha is not actually the true measure of the its vote bank.

On the second leg of Budget session which resumed on Monday (March 13), a total of sixteen parties participated in the Opposition party leaders’ meeting chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament.

The parties include - Indian National Congress (INC); Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK), Janata Dal (United); Aam Admi Party (AAP); Communist Party of India (Marxist); Kerala Congress, Rashtriya Lok Dal; Nationalist Congress Party (NCP); Communist Party of India; Indian Union Muslim League; Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction); Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Revolutionary Socialist Party; Rashtriya Janata Dal; Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the NC.

While Kharge said that the Opposition parties are “keen to play” a constructive role in the making the government more accountable, political analysts feel there is much to do than just being ‘unified’.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was an idea that seemed to have made some impact. The yatra was tracked with great admiration and hope and made possible a kind of mass connect among people. It also gave voice to the voters who express resentment against the BJP government and its policies.  It’s a hopeful sign for them.

As the same time, the success of AAP at the national level has also encouraged the opposition parties to think of a possible grand alliance to counter the BJP.


The shared dislike for the BJP can perhaps be the most powerful glue that can keep the already heterogeneous Opposition, together. The BJP is aware of the fact that it has too many enemies and its decreasing hold among its allies in certain states. Its antics and the ‘conduct’ with its former allies like the Shiva Sena (Uddhav faction) and the Janata Dal (United) are now ‘public knowledge’, so to speak.

It is unclear if the Opposition camp could actually chalk out a comprehensive plan to bring down the superior BJP, but there are however clear signs of uneasiness among the latter as the 2024 polls, which they thought they put a lid on, looks quite open for grabs.

The uneasiness is evident with the raids and arrests of certain Opposition leaders using investigative agencies including Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and education minister Satyender jain, Maharashtra ministers Sanjay Raut and Anil Deshmukh, West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and so on.

These raids subconsciously build an adverse public perception about these leaders and subsequently affect the voter’s mood.

The feeling of perturbing is more evident as the ruling BJP, which has a supposed stranglehold on mainstream media, will firmly ensure that the Opposition parties get poison dripped, sidelined and then go on to bag a conclusive victory. We have seen it before, we will see it again.

Political activist Yogendra Yadav, wrote in the The Print – ‘2024 is no longer a done deal for the BJP’. He argues that the BJP – even with its current dominance - was ousted of power in Bihar as Nitish Kumar was well aware of the saffron party’s ‘use and throw’ tactic and dumped them before they could dump him – to form a government with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD, the Left and the Congress.

The possibilities for 2024 are wide open again, Yadav stressed, adding that the ruling party will find it hard to win more than 243 seats in 2024.

What Yadav said is hyperbole, of course, but if the Opposition can actually work out a strategy to prevent a split in the anti-BJP vote, the saffron party will have a larger threat to withstand.

BJP’s chessboard

Being in power for the last nine years, the BJP has a lot of factors in their favour. The ruling government has changed the rules of the game, denied Opposition a common playing field, turned the Election Commission of India and central investigative agencies into submissive partners for their own endeavours.

Apart from these, they also have several failsafe plans up their sleeves including the installation of Ram idol in Ayodhya, the construction of which was pushed back to 2024, just in time for the elections - a good time for the saffron party to drum up religious fervor.

Not to mention the nationalism narrative which the BJP is able to churn out naturally at will, making believe that criticizing the party is ‘anti-national’.

Also, Modi will be 73 next year. The BJP is bound to play the emotional card, asking voters to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi to complete another term.

How will the Opposition counter these?

A force to be reckoned with...

The concept of ‘opposition unity’ is yet to become meaningful. The parties understand that they may fare well in state assembly elections, but that might not be the case in Lok Sabha elections. The expansion of the BJP, geographically, has greatly reduced the opposition’s foothold in the national stage. Many of these leaders have also succumbed to horse-trading that the ruling BJP has resorted to - to eliminate and destabilize the opposition entirely.

The BJP has undoubtedly become a formidable force to be reckoned with money and executive power, implausible media support along with the ubiquitous face of Narendra Modi who leaves no stones unturned to be on TV.

There are some strong opposition regional parties that have instituted a strong electoral dominance in their respective states – AAP in New Delhi and Punjab, TMC in West Bengal, DMK in Tamil Nadu and JD(U) and RJD in Bihar. Their priority is maintaining the regional dominance first, and understandably so. But if they want to capture the national space, a steady coalition is necessary.

The Lok Sabha elections are still a year away and much can change during this time, if only the Opposition parties buckle themselves up and find a common ground among each other. The election results might look predestined from afar but as they say – its never too late to regain your credibility.

LS Polls 2024: A 'Unified Opposition' Taking On a Force To Be Reckoned With...
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