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5 things Opposition can do to save face and stop BJP from winning everything

L.R. Baisla- Faridabad

1. Shun emotive issues and focus on governance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's relentless pitch of governance has given him a positive persona. But the opposition parties picking up sundry emotive issues and playing them up is not going to give them a positive image. Playing up local communal and caste issues at the national level is not going to help them project a serious image. Perhaps PM Modi understood this well long ago. That's why he carefully avoids talking about sectarian issues and focuses on governance.
There is no dearth of governance issues on which the opposition can corner the government. Playing up emotive issues sends the message to the voter that the opposition parties have little consideration for developmental and governance issues.

2. Don't group against the nationalists

The assumption that nationalism can be bad may make academic sense but you cannot impress the voters by appearing to be against nationalism and national symbols. A number of leaders from opposition parties have sided with the 'anti-national' discourse on the social media. Mainstream political parties cannot afford to support issues that make little sense to the common voters. Very few voters would back a party whose leaders support.
The political parties supporting campaigns against the national flag or national anthem cut a poor figure with the masses.

3. Let new faces emerge

Not only the Congress and the AAP, even most regional parties have same old people at the helm. They do not let new faces emerge. New leaders bring new ideas and vision. They can build fresh connections with voters. They can revive a party. They don't carry the old baggage that weighs down a party. Also, the high commands must allow the leaders at the grassroots to shape policy and agendas. A major reason behind the recent defeats of the AAP is too much control of local units by the senior leaders in Delhi .Capt Amarinder Singh won in Punjab because the Congress had to give him space to make his own choices. The BJP had to make Yogi Adityanath the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh because he has bigger following in the state than any other BJP leader.

4. Force good ideas on the government

The opposition parties have come to acquire an image of disruptors hell-bent to prevent PM Modi in Parliament by any means. Of course, it's their job to oppose. But they should also be seen to have progressive ideas. The opposition parties can float new ideas and force the government to consider them. If the government claims to be working for the poor, the opposition parties can press the government to come out with more pro-poor schemes. For example, a few months ago, the government had floated the idea of a universal basic income. The opposition parties could force the government to act on the idea and implement this scheme. Instead of being seen as impeding the government, it can manage to be seen as directing the government.

5. Support government’s good initiatives

To improve their image, the opposition should support the government's good initiatives. All the states and most political parties have supported the Goods and Services Tax but only the BJP is heard talking of the spirit of federalism. The opposition parties made a big mistake by questioning the surgical strike across the LOC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar enhanced his reputation by backing demonetization when all the others in the opposition were against it. Today he is emerging as the tallest opposition leader after Sonia Gandhi because he has managed to convey to the voters that he is against the NDA government but not against any good steps it takes.










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