Socialists gear up to check BJP government in 2024 Polls

By M Chenna Nagaraj

New Delhi : Socialist forces who are disillusioned with the NDA-2 are seriously contemplating to put up a united fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP at the national level but are aware of the reality that there can’t be a serious fight with the incumbents without Congress however weak they may appear.

For the socialists, ‘merger’ of political forces seems to be the the buzz word but the ego clashes among the top its top guns is holding up the progress even though most of the cadres and leaders yearn for a united fight against the ruling party which of late betrayed  susceptibility in a fight when there is a common opposition candidate is fielded, a key leader privy to the things going on behind the curtains told this correspondent. 

According to him a merger of erstwhile Janata Pariwar forces in states with Congress party on its side may emerge as a serious challenger to Modi’s team and halt the march of the bulldozer in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Another lurking danger for this Pariwar members now divided into various political groups wielding influence limiting themselves to their territories. They also know that if there is no serious effort to put up a common fight against the ruling BJP government at the centre it would mean staring at political extinction or face the prospects of spending a long time in the prison cells if the BJP were to get a third term in succession in Gujarat state. It is this fear that is prompting the leaders including to attempt a merger of Janata Pariwar parties and not exclude any non-BJP party. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has taken up the task of uniting the opposition forces and thus making himself the candidate to take on Modi in the next Lok Sabha polls, the leader who doesn’t want to be quoted at this point of time asserted. The other reason for this ‘Grand Merger’ is that without such political gala event, this effort will not be taken seriously and it will be difficult to create a wave against the government which has been able to carve out victories despite non-performance and maladministration. 

Things are catching up well in Bihar, after senior leader Sharad Yadav merged his Loktantrik Janata Dal with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashriya Janata Dal. The group has also the pronounced support from former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda who is the national President of Janata Dal (Secular) but will play the role of a mentor in view of his age factor. But his influence will have marginal effect outside his areas where he is already a force, observers feel. 

The Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar is okay with the merger as their leader has a fair chances of emerging as the prime ministerial candidate ahead of the polls after his bitter parting from the NDA. RJD too is onboard because their leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav can fill the vacuum created by Nitish’s exit. The CM has already indicating his exit from state politics when he says that the next elections will be fought under Tejaswi. 

The socialist forces were also powerful in Jharkhand, erstwhile part of Bihar which had good base among the tribal dominated areas. 

In Haryana, Devilal’s family represents Janata Pariwar and the incumbent government exists because of the support of a faction of this family. 

Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party is already heading a coalition consisting of Rashtriya Lok Dal which has base in western Uttar Pradesh and smaller parties in eastern UP. The last elections had shown that the ruling party can be challenged successfully if opposition is united. Posters have already emerged in Lucknow saying that “UP+Bihar = Gayi Modi Sarkar”.

Biju Janata Dal is quite popular in Odisha and can join its erstwhile political family if things progress well in other states. 

We were a force in Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh where we were fighting Congress in these key states and if we socialists merge the chances are that we are potential contenders against the BJP in about 200 LS seats like we used to be against Congress. Now the Congress base — Dalits and Other Backward Castes have shifted to the BJP, the leader said. 

However for this dream to become a reality, the elephant in the opposition room is Congress which too is not disinclined for a united candidate against the BJP but at the state by state basis and not at the national level. 

The Congress on the other hand is seeing its Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) as a game changer ahead of crucial polls in its crucial polls in Rajasthan,  Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh where it feels in a position to capture power. 

Victories in these states a year ahead of Lok Sabha polls have proved to be a quagmire for political parties. In 2004 BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to polls six months ahead of its term after wins in these states but it was Congress led UPA which stormed to power for the next two terms till 2014. 

It was a reverse for the Congress in 2018. The party no doubt marginally ahead of of the BJP in Mandya Pradesh and Rajasthan states. The party was unable to hold on to power for more than a year because of the defections in its rank while surviving the destabilisation efforts in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Elections are due in these states before November 2023. 

The Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi no doubt evoking good response because people were badly affected the policies of the BJP government but are they offering any solutions? This government is only carrying out the pro-capitalist policies of the Congress party. “The Congress when they were in power claimed they were carrying out reforms with a human face but this government is doing it in a crude manne, following an inhuman approach”, the leader who is currently not attached to any political party and doesn’t wish to be quoted at this point of time said. 

If our plans has to get acceptability, ‘larger merger’ of the Janata Pariwar forces like we did in 1977 is a must. Only then, there can be a wave against the government and the situation is no different now, he said. When we Janata Pariwar emerge as a big block, people will take us seriously. Otherwise, all forces opposed to the government will be extinct politically or rot in the jail cells for a long time if this government were to get a third term, he said. 

As far as the parties guided by psychologist cum political strategist Prashant Kishore, the leader said the strategist was basically a businessman and would be swayed by money power and we are unsure which way, these parties tilt, the leader remarked. All these parties have either aligned or towed the wrong policies of the BJP at the national level, he said. 

(The writer is a former correspondent of UNI in New Delhi and Bangalore)