The speech made by the Indian National Congress party VP at Berkeley university was neither a great piece of oratory nor an erudite exposition . It was a simple , sober and straightforward speech without frills but with political overtones and he was candid enough to admit mistakes . That a speech by the de-facto head of their political rival should draw the ire of the ruling party is not surprising. But the reaction and the rebuttal of the speech by multiple press conferences and the deployment of more than two dozen Union ministers along with various party functionaries for this purpose is somewhat jarring.
This overkill has two facets to it. Firstly the BJP is not ready , as is it's wont, to allow even a small dent to their self created facade of achievement and development , propped up by clever propaganda . They are ready to go all out for every opposition to their goals and agenda , whatever that may be. They are ready to use heavy artillery for a seemingly innocuous criticism . And they want to show this to everybody else in a blatant display of power and arrogance.
Secondly they are still uncertain about their footing. In the heart of their hearts , they know very well that they have done nothing . Their agenda of hype over nationalism has faded over the ground realities of non performance and ground realities of a sluggish economy. The other divisive tactics of polarisation over religion , however is a poison ivy with deep roots and difficult to be uprooted . But more than that what gives them the inferiority complex is that the quality of the leaders and the governance that they offer fall much short of expectations . The personality cult aided by co-option has not really helped as no sensible person can continuously digest the gap between their promises made and delivered. Further nobody other than two persons and a close coterie of outsiders have any say on anything . And that includes people in the party with a lot of administrative and political experience.
But still they continue to be confident . And this confidence actually stems from the bunch of lazy, compromised, self seeking , fragmented and a directionless opposition who lend succour to the ruling party by default . Even as so many Union ministers came out to speak against the said speech , hardly any opposition leader supported it. Even his own party did not put up a strong defense or bothered to highlight the contents of his speech. If that is not lethargy , then what is ?
The real worry of the political leaders in opposition is the drying up of funds and the spectre of CBI cases hanging on them , rightly or wrongly for their various ommissions and commissions. Actually , it is a sad commentary on our polity that the stronger opposition leaders who have a mass following are all compromised . Moreover their old style of politics involving money and appeasement have been busted . The other point to note is that presently all these opposition political parties barring a few do not have any ideological locus standi to speak of . Their stance is guided more by opportunistic alignments but never against capitalism. Given a chance they will further the interests of crony capitalists themselves. The lip service to socialism and democracy that they profess actually has made the rise of fascism , capitalism and communalism possible in this country.
Politics and its dimensions may have changed . But the basics have remained the same , in spite of the changes. Grass root mobilization , people's movement, opinion building and mass participation are the four pillars of a political entity. But for this the leaders have to hit the roads and inhale the dust. Whatever opposition that the country sees now are in the realm of spontaneous outbursts of indignation. But such outbursts have a tendency of getting corrupted by self seeking lumpen elements and lose their credibility. What is needed now is a crystallisation of the opposition to really put up a fight . Because the portents are getting murky . 2019 will be a make or break year . We may wish that 2004 will repeat itself but then wishes are not horses. And the opposition can't take voters as Santa Claus .