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Building Narrative


Should not strategy be made by the opposition parties on the basis of past experience? When, during his nine-plus years in office, has Prime Minister Modi been bested in parliamentary debate? Despite that, the attempt is being made to ‘corner’ him in Parliament through a discussion on Manipur, or the no-confidence motion. If there was actual concern about the situation in the North-East, more than nine days would not have been allowed to go waste, even if it meant participating in a short-duration motion.

So, the opposition would have the debate take place in its desired format, at the time of its choosing, with the Prime Minister appearing before it as some sort of accused in court, while also enjoying the privilege of obstructing proceedings as and when it likes. It knows very well that the government would not be so docile as to accede to such demands, so there has to be some other objective in all the drama. One could be to further cement the recently forged opposition unity through the shared fellowship of protest, which is rather difficult to project outside Parliament. Another reason very probably is to try and delay the passage of certain bills that cannot be otherwise stopped. There is also the intention to make PM Modi seem insensitive to the Manipur issue by alleging he has not found time to speak about it in either house. Even that the BJP is attempting to shield those who perpetrated the video-recorded horror. It is also providing members like Derek O’Brien the opportunity to be downright disrespectful to the Prime Minister, as well as the Rajya Sabha Chairman, with that special sense of entitlement a certain class has for those not well-versed in English.

In the meanwhile, the debate rages in the media, particularly the news channels. This would not be possible if the matter were to be discussed in Parliament. Even those holding constitutional positions such as Chairpersons of Women’s Commissions are out being blatantly political with their cherry picking of causes. The big question, however, is whether this strategy is working. Is the opposition being able to convince the people about the ‘heartlessness’ of the Modi Government and the failure of the BJP’s policies? Or, is the attempt too obvious to succeed? There are important elections coming and the opposition has nothing to lose by trying. In such a situation, facts and figures don’t matter; it is all about the narrative.