Mamata Banerjee’s victory in Bengal has busted the myth that the BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, is invincible. This, therefore, is the right time for the opposition to come together and form plans to beat them in 2024, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha — who recently joined the Trinamool Congress — told NDTV today.
Mr Sinha will be one of the key participants at a mega meeting of opposition parties called by Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. The Nationalist Congress Party chief has invited leaders from multiple like-minded parties in an initiative taken after two rounds of meeting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor. The former chief of IPAC who crafted the campaign of Mamata Banerjee, is seen as being the pivot in an effort to craft an opposition front against the BJP in 2024.
“It is a good time for the opposition to come together. But along with it, I’ll also say this — there is an English proverb that ‘Let the best not be the enemy of the good’. Let us do whatever we can and not get comfortable waiting for the best to take an intiative,” Yashwant Sinha told NDTV in what appeared an arch reference to the Congress.
The Trinamool Congress chief — despite her excellent rapport with Sonia Gandhi — has not got along with the Congress under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership.
The inability of these two parties to come together in Bengal and Delhi, owing to the Congress’s equally patchy relationship with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had spelled the end of a united opposition wall the parties were planning ahead of the 2019 elections.
Asked directly about the Congress being the weak link in the opposition chain and what they plan to do about it, Mr Sinha said, “We don’t intend to do anything. It is something the Congress needs to do. But I feel the Congress should show maturity and join the opposition front”.
Pointing out that today, apart from the BJP, the Congress is the only party which has a national presence, Mr Sinha said, “This is why the Congress needs to join the opposition parties”.
But this is a decision that Congress needs to take, he said, adding, “There are a lot of mature leaders in that party and I’ll hope that they will give this a thought”.
Asked about who would lead the opposition front, whether it would be Mamata Banerjee, Mr Sinha said, “This is a trap which we should avoid”.
Leadership of the front is seen as the biggest stumbling block in opposition unity, with multiple leaders harbouring ambitions for the top job. The lack of a consensus candidate is something the BJP never fails to highlight.
“This is a trap the BJP regularly lays, asking ‘Who is your leader’,” Mr Sinha said.
“We have enough leaders, more than the BJP. We will come together and if we have the blessings of the people and get majority, we will definitely find someone who can be the Prime Minister,” he added.