Yet again, a medley of parties descended on the invitation of RJD chief to unleash a battle cry against the BJP. But, what intrigues political observers is the character of such a combine besides its ability to take on the Modi juggernaut in 2019.
Such a conglomeration of opposition parties, especially after the BJP snatched away Nitish Kumar from them is significant. But, the internal contradictions within such an anti-BJP political consortium raise serious questions over its efficacy.
The combine seriously lacks credibility as it fails to win the perception game. The opposition camp is rudderless. There is no charismatic leader with pan-Indian image to lead the forces to victory. The group of parties lacks the all India appeal as at best it resembles a hurriedly put together arrangement.
The purpose seems to be hazy except for its common objective of dislodging the BJP. But, most of the parties in the opposition bandwagon have allied with NDA one time or other undermining the sanctity and authenticity of any such call, however clarion it may be.
The opposition may call it a secular fight. But, such an electorally defined concept of secularism has often strengthened the saffron narrative of nationalism and pseudo-secularism. Secularism is a Constitutional and philosophical construct rather than a conveniently interpreted political idiom.
Each of these opposition parties in the agglomeration has its own reasons for contesting against BJP. Such local factors cannot build a national narrative against BJP. Many of these parties have reservations over the Congress leading such a combine. Some of these regional satraps even entertain prime ministerial ambitions making the arrangement chaotic.
On the contrary, the BJP with a formidable grassroots organisation, coherent ideological position and a strong national leadership will be challenging the opposition bandwagon.
In the absence of a strong core at the national alliance of political parties, the centrifugal forces operating within it create greater uncertainty.
Barring the Congress none of the parties has the appeal beyond their states. Even the Congress has been reduced to a multi-state party rather than a truly national political platform with a patriarchal reach.
The opposition can only forge a credible alternative by initiating sustained struggles rather than through political arithmetic and electoral maths. The opposition grand alliance will be in tatters unless they succeed in enlisting a widest unity against the BJP on a common and alternative policy agenda.
But, a mere amalgamation of parties or politicians coming together for political expediency will end up in a futile exercise. The history of opposition unity in India is replete with examples of such political arrangement flittering away as they fail to present a programmatic alternative to the party in power.
Many of the regional parties in the opposition alliance are highly unreliable. No all India alliance can emerge with regional parties at its core. Politics cannot be a photo opportunity.