Rama Krishna Sangem
Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Stability card against the combined opposition’s India front in his speech at NDA meeting in Delhi yesterday, July 18, Tuesday. He dismissed the announcement of India formation by 26 parties including Congress that met at Bangalore for two days, July 17 and 18. “Congress has used coalitions in 1990s to destabilize opposition governments,” said Modi. He will use the stability card in coming days too.
Remember then PM Indira Gandhi used to ridicule opposition led Janata Party government as “Kichidi Sarkar”? Now Modi is using the same weapon of Inidra Gandh to beat at India grouping. If NDA was formed to bring stability at the Centre led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999, the Congress backed opposition governments of HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral were pulled down by the Congress before.
However, Modi didn’t mention about UPA led by Congress governments of Dr Manmohan Singh for two terms – from 2004 to 2009 and 2009 to 2014 in his speech. These two regimes were stable and focused on UPAs’ social agenda, just as his government is doing since 2014. Still Modi wanted to attack India front including Congress (I am not saying Congress led India) with stability card.
Modi knows India’s fault lines
Because, PM Modi knows internal fault lines of India front. He wants to tell people that they cannot afford a government that is likely to be unstable and vulnerable to be dragged down by infighting among the top leaders. Mercurial tempers of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee or ambitious yet often sulking Bihar CM Nitish Kumar or equally ambitious yet subdued NCP boss Sharad Pawar, can pull India in different directions, is what Modi’s assessment.
Naturally everyone assumes Congress to play the role of Big partner of this camp and Rahul Gandhi to be the Prime Ministerial candidate, if they get numbers in 2024 elections. But, that is not happening automatically. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge who presided over the Bangalore meet told the media that Congress has no ambitions to come to power or take up PM post. “We only want to defeat BJP in 2024,” said Kharge.
This statement is the weapon to PM Modi. His campaigning for the next 9-10 months will be based on this uncertainty – Modi Vs Who? Or negative agenda of India front. We shouldn’t forget India group failed to name its convener at Bangalore and differed a decision on it to Mumbai meeting to be held later. A 11 member core committee will be formed soon to finalise details like India’s convener and its plan of action.
So, Rahul Gandhi is not the automatic leader of this front. As Nitish has already ruled out being India’s convener, the job may go to either Sharad Pawar or Mamata. It is unlikely that either Kharge or Sonia or Stalin or Kejriwal or Lalu Prasad or Akhilesh becoming India convener. Already BJP leader Sushil Modi said, Nitish was unhappy over he not being made India convener at Bangalore. Of course, Nitish denied the allegation.
A reality check of some other non-BJP leaders like Mayawati of BSP, KCR of BRS, Naveen Patnaik of BJD, Jagan Mohan Reddy of YCP, Chandrababu Naidu of TDP and Gowdas of JD(S) staying away from India front is a matter of interest to PM Modi. They all backing a non-BJP government after 2024 LS polls depends on so many Ifs and Buts. Modi will encash these Ifs and Buts. And sell his stability card.