Opposition parties in UP remain at their wit’s ends for their revival as all formulas tested in the past have failed. The BJP’s performance in general elections coupled with the passage of Triple Talaq Bill and abrogation of Article 370 & bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories have ensured that the opposition is in a complete disarray. Their dilemma is reflected in their response to major decisions of the BJP-led NDA government.
When Article 370 was abrogated, Mayawati welcomed it and Akhilesh adopted a cautious tone while Congress struggled to sink their differences on the issue that once held them in good stead but has apparently made them a villain now.
Both the SP and BSP seem to have run out of ideas for attempting another round of political permutation and combination for their survival.
Even on the Ram temple issue, the opposition was on the back foot and found refuge in a court decision.
Bypolls to 13 UP Assembly seats are round the corner and Assembly elections are scheduled for early 2022. The BJP has already started working on increasing the number of seats while on the other hand, the three major opposition parties — SP, BSP and Congress — seem to be tatters. They have already tried and tested all political combinations in successive elections and failed miserably.
The Congress contested the 1996 Assembly elections in alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party to take on the BJP. While their rallies drew encouraging crowds but that did not translate into votes at the hustings. Eventually, the BSP dumped pre-poll ally Congress, and formed a government in coalition with the ‘manuwadi’ BJP, which it had vowed to destroy.
In years to come, parties tested odd coalition governments, so much so that even Mulayam Singh Yadav took the help of political bete noir and Ram temple mascot Kalyan Singh during 2009 Lok Sabha elections to fight his main rival BSP.
However, it took non-BJP parties two decades to form another pre-poll alliance in 2017, when the Congress and SP came together for the assembly elections, but the BJP swept the polls.
Two years later, in 2019, the SP-BSP and Rashtriya Lok Dal came together for the general elections and turn the tables on the BJP in UP. But the results rubbed salt to their earlier wounds.
Now, the Congress is rudderless in a state where the Gandhis played a pivotal political role, the SP is in the doldrums and the BSP in complete disarray. After denting these parties’ vote banks of Yadavs and Dalits, the BJP is weaning away Muslims too.
The opposition parties are left with little choice but to wait for the BJP to weaken itself or rebuild its organisation by broadening its caste and communal composition.
So far, three Rajya Sabha MPs of Samajwadi Party and one of the Congress thave resigned from their parties and joined the BJP. Many more Rajya Sabha MPs of the SP are expected to desert their party soon.