For a national opposition, there are a lot of roles to be played by strong regional leaders and unless people stand up to pressure tactics of the ruling party, the country will not have a national opposition, says eminent lawyer and Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi thinks the opposition needs to have credibility to take on the BJP.
Their remarks came during a conversation on ‘Paralysis of National Opposition’ with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, on TNIE’s Expressions, a series of live webcasts with people who matter.
Q: Do you see a national opposition led by a national party emerging in future.
AMS: It’s a mistake to think that unless Congress matches the BJP’s number, you will not have the national opposition. Two leaders of the largest state, Uttar Pradesh, are in silence for last over one year. Unless people stand up to such pressure tactics of the ruling parties, you will not have a national opposition and you cannot expect the Congress to go from 44 to 272. For a national composite collective opposition, there are a lot of roles to be played by a lot of people who fit in the puzzle and who are not playing that role.
DT: It is not always numbers; it’s quality also. I don’t think we should look for leaders, but what is needed is credibility. We need to have people with credibility and what perhaps is lacking in the opposition is credibility and that comes with a lot of work. Today, youth is looking for definite answers. Nothing remains stagnant and there is no need to say democracy has gone to dogs...things will happen and leadership will come. We should not look for shortcuts and if the BJP is forming government in states at any cost, believe me if there is no value, then it will not last long.
Q: Do you think Rahul Gandhi has the credibility to lead the united opposition?
AMS: We (Congress) have the uppermost credibility at the national level. Rahul Gandhi was very active when we won several states and he was very much in the saddle. He fought hard when he was the party president. The only mistake I would say is when Rahul put his foot down (in resigning as party chief) and now he should immediately take charge.
DT: Rahul Gandhi has to change the style…Because you have to be at it 24x7 and in your house, there has to be a mela (congregation of party workers). There are regional leaders who are very powerful and they can lead the opposition.