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Weakness Exposed

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The opposition parties are always so eager to get a ‘response’ from the Prime Minister on their various allegations. He doesn’t need to respond. This is because he knows that if he waits long enough his detractors will effectively shoot themselves in the proverbial foot. All the rival outfits, including the Congress, are now too small, and dependent on just a narrow leadership base, to be able to make an effective dent on the ruling party. All that sloganeering and placard waving in Parliament compensates little for the embarrassments each party is presently facing.

Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are seriously on the back foot because senior ministers have been found with their hands in the till. Normally, genuine political parties with an ideological base would waste no time in sacking such ministers. Unfortunately, these ministers have probably been serving the interests of their political bosses and, if abandoned in the hands of the Enforcement Directorate, could reveal the most inconvenient secrets. So, despite the public embarrassment, both, the TMC and AAP have ‘stood’ with them despite the clear evidence of wrong-doing. The TMC did, on Thursday, sack the errant Partha Chatterjee, so it has probably weighed the pros and cons of alienating the public by defending the indefensible. But there are bound to be consequences.

In the case of the Congress, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has undone all the efforts of the MPs, who have suffered suspension from Parliament to further the opposition cause, by his totally unnecessary jibe against President Murmu. Finding an opening, the BJP has come out all guns blazing – Smrit Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, et al. With one word, he managed to alienate a string of group identities. He couldn’t have done better if it had been a conscious and planned strategy. In the process, party boss Sonia Gandhi also has had to face flak that she has not been able to adequately deflect.

Why does not the opposition realise that the BJP is not going to allow power into its hands by default, particularly at the national level? Whatever critics may have to say about the BJP’s ideology, it is a genuine political party with a carefully crafted grassroots base. It has had charismatic leaders, but is not entirely dependent on their popularity to get the votes. The BJP is in for the long haul and the opposition should prepare accordingly – from the grassroots up!