Concern for Opposition unity

This blog post was triggered by an edit that ‘Business Standard’ had written today, advising the Opposition parties that without unity in their ranks, the Opposition parties cannot hope to defeat the BJP in the national elections in 2019

This is not a critcism as much as loud thinking on what a newspaper edit should concern itself with. Can ‘Advising the Opposition Parties of their political strategy against the ruling party’ be fair game for a newspaper Edit?

In contrast, if the Opposition Parties united to defeat a ruling party, a newspaper can ask whether the purpose was merely about replacing the ruling party or if there was a larger national purpose to it. Is there an alternative policy agenda that is thought-through, that is different, etc.,? Those are valid questions for an Edit to raise.

After all, the Congress Party has been in office for more than 80% of the time since independence. What has it learnt and how is its policy agenda in 2019 going to reflect that learning, if there is a learning, to begin with? Is it ‘proud’ of the fact that its farm loan waivers have been adopted as the answer to rural and farmers’ distress by several States, including those ruled by the BJP? Or, is there a reflection on the costs and benefits for the nation (not to leave out farmers) from such policies?

Whichever way one slices it, the problem of bad loans in Indian banks is the legacy of the credit boom and wrong loan decisions – mala fide or bona fide – of the era between 2004 and 2014. Was it a rather indirect taxpayer funding of one or more political parties via the banking system and its borrowers?

Has there been an honest introspection on the part of the Congress about the moral, ethical and economic fallout of the bad loan crisis?

Editorials can be legitimately concerned with that.

Equally, when the BJP trumpets a ‘Congress-mukt’ Bharath, it is important to ask quite what it means for the nation, if the policies are no different from those that the Congress Party followed.

Without responsible answers to these questions, it hardly matters to the public, except to the most partisan of them, as to whether the Opposition is united or is disparate.

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