Though Not Stirringly Impactful, There Are Some Major Takeaways From Opposition Rally In Delhi   - Vibes Of India

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Though Not Stirringly Impactful, There Are Some Major Takeaways From Opposition Rally In Delhi  

| Updated: April 1, 2024 12:14

Though the ‘Save Democracy Rally’ or Loktantra Bachao Rally at Delhi’s historic Ramlila ground was projected as a unified call of the opposition parties under the INDIA bloc to root out the BJP from the Centre in the 2024 polls, the trigger was Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by ED in the alleged liquor scam case. 

The rally seemed only a perfunctory response to AAP’s bid to forge a unity which the Congress, the NCP led by Sharad Pawar, the Shiv Sena (UBT), the National Conference, PDP, Left parties, DMK, TMC, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and others answered. 

The cliched rhetoric of democracy in danger, accusations of the BJP changing the constitution, and allegations of misuse of probe agencies have clearly failed to sway the Indian populace. The opposition parties still don’t seem to have found a compelling narrative that could really tarnish the BJP’s image.  

However, there were some major takeways from the rally:  

Message of unity 

The rally before the 2024 Lok Sabha election stands out as a remarkable display of unity amidst diversity. The gathering amplified a collective voice of the opposition to pose a challenge to the  establishment. The Kejriwal episode proved to be the the right peg to grill the government and make some impact on the psyche of the electorate. The timing was crucial as it also projected the opposition as alive and active to the realities and needs of the country. The coming together of divergent voices on one platform by setting aside differences sends across a positive message.  

Symphony of sympathy 

The rally comes as a strategic manoeuvre by the anti-BJP political parties to strike a chord of sympathy among voters. As it came just days after the arrest of prominent leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, the rally served as a platform to project the opposition as victims of a “fascist regime” under the BJP, highlighting the arrests and legal challenges faced by various leaders on corruption charges. The Congress, too, seized the opportunity to voice grievances about blocked bank accounts. The emotional dimension was further amplified by poignant moments, such as Sunita Kejriwal and Kalpana Suren reading out messages from their jailed husbands. These gestures humanise the political struggle to garner public sympathy. The symbolism of empty chairs reserved for Kejriwal and Soren reinforce the narrative of victimhood.  

The stale rhetoric  

The rally, depite being evocative, failed to offer people a strong alternative vision for India. While concerns about democracy and EVM manipulation may capture attention, it does little to address the fundamental issues of people like economic prosperity, education, healthcare, employment, and rising prices. Mere attacks on the ruling party without a road map for a  better India risk leaving voters disenchanted. Mere optics won’t match up to the BJP’s strategy, which has already mastered that art. Unless there is something more to it or something new and better, the voters’ affiliation to the ideologies of Akhand Bharat and Hindutva will remain, however vague these ideologies may be.   

The marriage of convenience 

The leaders, who used the platform to speak of solidarity and unity are fighting against each other in states like Punjab, West Bengal, Kerala, and others. This leaves them with credibility issues in the minds of the people. Even in the rally, while AAP focussed primarily on Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, the Congress strategically downplayed the arrests of Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, indicating a lack of consensus on the rally’s purpose. On the issue of electoral bonds and other pertinent matters like the Uniform Civil Code, the Ram Mandir, and the abrogation of Article 370, not a single cohesive statement or vision was presented by the opposition.  The rally missed an opportunity to present a cohesive and unified front, instead highlighting the fractured nature of opposition politics. 

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