Understanding Indian politics is
Left front (CPI, CPM and other communist parties) constitutes a significant chunk of the ruling UPA alliance governing the centre. Right wing BJP led NDA is the main opposition party. The role of the opposition party is to keep the policies of the ruling government in check and question the basis of all decision making. At the same time, the opposition raises a stand on various issues and debates with the government before the parliament agrees on a proposal. A weak opposition will result in irresponsible governance. Parliamentary democracy gives importance to both – the ruling and the opposition.
Of late the Left parties have taken over the role as the main opposition. BJP is tied up trying to cope up with the mess in its own house. It does launch token protests, but they are out of sync and don’t reflect a firm stand of the party on any issue. Latest example is the issue raised by NDA over the proposed disinvestments in NALCO. While in power, it was the NDA government who proposed offloading equity from this profit making PSU. Now it’s the same NDA, which is opposing the proposal bitterly. Another example was the meek protests few weeks back over fuel price hike. I remember the previous NDA government defending the price rise when it raised the fuel prices.
The Left on the other hand has been consistent with its policies; I’m not judging right or wrong (that will be another post). They are against liberalization and disinvestments in profit-making PSU’s. They are against passing the rising oil import costs to the consumer. They oppose FDI in retail and want to stick to protectionist labor laws of the 60’s. It’s a different story that the Leftist government in West Bengal under Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is running with a capitalist agenda.
Yet, the stand taken by the communists is steady, while the BJP is in a state of complete disarray. Remember Indira Gandhi’s gesture of sending Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the leader of opposition to UN back in 1971, which has become a shining example of Indian democratic setup and role played by a responsible opposition?
Part of the government itself is playing the opposition today, which was anyways inevitable, because the Congress is more similar to BJP than Leftists! Where is the real opposition today?