Dr Pv lakshmaiah IAS Study Circle > Current affairs > Indian Polity > The ‘Opposition unity’ caution
The ‘Opposition unity’ caution
- April 24, 2023
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Indian Polity
- Opposition unity is a new entrant in India’s electoral lexicon that aims to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by ensuring a direct contest between the BJP and a united opposition in every constituency.
- The foundational premise of this strategy is that the BJP won only 37% of the votes in the 2019 election and that 63% of Indians voted against the party.
- However, this article argues that the idea of opposition unity as an electoral strategy is a fallacy and needs to be analyzed more critically.
Opposition Unity: An Electoral Shortcut?
- The BJP only contested 80% of the seats in 2019, leaving the rest to its alliance partners. In the seats that the BJP won, it secured well more than half the votes, implying that no amount of ‘opposition unity’ could have prevented its victory.
- Together with its alliance partners, the BJP won the support of 45% of all voters. However, this still does not mean that the remaining 55% disapproves of the BJP and can be united to vote against them.
- The idea that opposition unity can guarantee an automatic opposition victory is a fallacy.
The Need for Representation
- In an extremely diverse society such as India, the proliferation of numerous political parties is a reflection of the need for representation for many diverse groups.
- Artificially suppressing this outlet through a forced and manufactured unity of political parties can backfire if not articulated carefully to the public.
- Electoral unity of political parties does not immediately mean unity of their voters.
- There is already synergy between some parties, and there is scope for more amalgamation of different parties along ideological or identity axes.
United Opposition as a Political Force
- A united opposition is a necessary and powerful weapon to fight for a level playing field and the rights of opposition politics in India’s democracy.
- Misuse of institutions, monopoly of media and money, and intimidation of opposition have to be fought against vehemently, which a strong, united opposition is best positioned to do.
- A joint political action against the ruling party by all opposition parties can reverberate much louder across the nation.
United Opposition as an Electoral Force
- It is far-fetched to believe that an alliance between two parties in a state will lure voters from other states to vote for the opposition in a national election.
- A united political opposition to safeguard India’s democracy is necessary but not a magic pill for easy gains in an FPTP electoral system with many parties in the fray.
- It calls for more work by each party to explain the rationale for a united opposition alliance to their support base so as to not risk turning them away.
- Opposition unity is a potent political force but does not necessarily translate into a powerful electoral force.
- It is important to critically analyze the idea of opposition unity as an electoral strategy and recognize that it is not a shortcut to electoral success.