National Opposition unity cracks in Presidential, Vice-Presidential elections

From the selection of Presidential candidate to voting, the Opposition failed to be one, leaving the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government to have the last laugh.

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  22 July 2022 1:45 PM GMT
National Opposition unity cracks in Presidential, Vice-Presidential elections

Hyderabad: National Opposition unity fell like a pack of cards over the Presidential elections followed by the Vice-Presidential nominee, leaving a gloomy picture for them in the next general elections unless a miracle happens.

From the selection of Presidential candidate to voting, the Opposition failed to be one, leaving the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government to have the last laugh.

From NCP strongman Sharad Pawar to West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao and others, valiant attempts to forge Opposition unity fell off the track.

Right from the selection of candidates to ensuring voting, the Opposition faltered to the advantage of the BJP.

BJP IT cell convenor and co-in-charge of West Bengal Amit Malviya's comment tells the scenario. "Two TMC MPs and one MLA cross voted. Vote of two were declared invalid. Mamata Banerjee, the self-appointed fulcrum of Opposition unity, failed to prevail over her own legislators. On the other hand, despite intimidation, all BJP WB legislators backed Draupadi Murmu," he said.

Added to this, Mamata Banerjee's decision to not vote for either Opposition candidate Margaret Alva or BJP's Jagdeep Dhankar in the Vice-Presidential elections hit hard Opposition unity in the run-up to the 2024 general elections.

Mamata's salvo came after the Opposition's Presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha was defeated by a huge margin in the Presidential elections with Droupadi Murmu getting a whopping 64% votes polled.

For Vice-Presidential elections, NDA chose former West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar who had a running feud with Mamata Banerjee while the Opposition bet on former Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva. In fact, Alva was a bitter critic of the Gandhi clan.

But the sudden decision of TMC to abstain from V-P polls raised eyebrows. It comes close on the heels of Mamata Banerjee's meeting with former Darjeeling Governor where Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was also present.

Darjeeling changed Mamata Banerjee! Her sudden somersault not to back the Opposition V-P candidate and abstain from voting seems to have a Darjeeling connection!

Mamata's unpredictable behaviour has Opposition on tenterhooks. Her statement that President-elect Draupadi Murmu could have been a consensus candidate left the Opposition in shock. Now another shock for the V-P elections!

TMC general secretary and MP Abhisekh Banerjee defended TMC's decision. He said, "Supporting an NDA V-P candidate does not arise and the way Opposition candidate was decided, without proper consultation and deliberation with a party having 35 MPs, we have decided to abstain from voting."

In fact, Presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha was forced by Mamata to stay away from the West Bengal campaign fearing tribal backlash!

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who fumed and fettered against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announced his decision to launch a national party to counter BJP-NDA, too, has fallen silent grappling with the BJP onslaught in Telangana. Heavy rains, linked to "foreign hand" cloud burst, added to his woes and kept him on his toes.

Unlike the Presidential elections, only Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs can vote, totaling 780, in the Vice-Presidential elections. The magic figure is 391 MPs. BJP has 394 MPs.

NDA victory in the Vice-Presidential election is a foregone conclusion after the Presidential election result.

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