United on Adani, but divided on alliance: Oppn's fragile equations

By Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi

New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS): In what may be a blessing in disguise for the opposition unity, a host of political parties, including a few regional ones, have thrown their weight behind the Congress to take on the BJP on the Hindenburg-Adani issue.

Keeping their differences aside, even the BRS and AAP attended the Opposition's meeting convened on Friday to work out a strategy to corner the government in Parliament.

Sixteen parties, including INC, DMK, SP, AAP, BRS, SS, RJD, JD(U), CPI(M), CPI, NCP, NC, IUML, KC (Jose Mani), KC (Thomas) and RSP attended the meeting in Leader of Opposition (LOP) Mallikarjun Kharge's chamber in Parliament building. However, the Trinamool Congress, which attended the meeting on Thursday, gave it a miss on Friday.

Hailing the Opposition unity, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said: "The Opposition parties are united in demanding a discussion of the impact on the economy and on the savings of ordinary Indians of the current stock-market crisis. Isn't this what Parliament is for? Why should the Govt stall discussion".

The opposition has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe (JPC)in the Hindenberg research report on Adani Enterprises.

Making the same demand, LoP Kharge had said, "We seek a JPC investigation on the issue and will raise the demand inside Parliament."

Though the opposition unity inside the Parliament has taken the BJP by surprise, the same camaraderie is missing outside the House. The entire opposition is reluctant to unite given the ideological differences the regional parties have with Congress. This was evident on the last day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra as only a few party representatives turned up in Srinagar.

Even former party president Rahul Gandhi has accepted that there are differences within the Congress but added the opposition camp is united against the "politics of hate of the RSS and the BJP".

Addressing a press conference here, he said "the Opposition is not allowed to raise the issues in Parliament and the media is not giving space to those issues".

Congress allies RJD and JD(U) too gave skipped the closing ceremony of the yatra blaming the inclement weather in Srinagar, but apparently, two blocks have surfaced in the opposition -- one led by Congress and other by K. Chandrasekhar Rao of BRS whose rally was attended by the SP, CPI(M), and the JD(S). However, the Trinamool Congress's hopes have dimmed, though it has leaped forward after winning Bengal polls.

Pinning hopes on Rahul Gandhi, former Defence Minister A.K. Antony had said that "with the Bharat Jodo Yatra ending in Kashmir a new Rahul has taken birth".

Antony made the observation at a party function and termed the Yatra "unique" in every sense.

"With the yatra coming to a close, I am seeing a new Rahul and this Yatra will come to a close only when the present BJP government is sent packing at the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The yatra has helped Rahul to see an India which has now realised that this is going to be his re-birth," said the former Defence Minister at a party event here.

"The aim of the Congress for the yatra was a unification of the democratic forces," added Antony, who was caught on the backfoot last week when his son Anil Antony slammed the BBC for the documentary on Narendra Modi.

Though the grand-old party is confident of Rahul emerging stronger, still some of the opposition parties are skeptical.

However, the party strategists feel that Rahul Gandhi has emerged as an "undisputed leader" in the opposition camp and the programme has helped his image makeover, though he again stressed the Yatra is for the people, and not for himself or his party.

During his around-3,970 km journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir which started on September 7, Gandhi traversed 12 states and two UTs and tried to touch the emotional chord of the people of the particular areas in that particular state.

He addressed 13 press conferences, held over 100 corner meetings, over 275 planned walking interactions, and more than 100 sittings.

"I did not do the Yatra for myself or Congress, the aim is to stand against an ideology that wants to destroy the foundation of the country," he asserted in Srinagar.

The show of opposition unity, however, was challenged by the BJP which stated that despite all the effort, the opposition did not come together "as no one accepted him".

In its defence, the Congress sources said over a dozen leaders from the opposition parties were scheduled to attend the rally, but couldn't make it because of the closure of Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the disruption of air traffic.



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