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Opportunity Beckons Regional Parties
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Bihar leaders are on the right track. Mr. Laloo Yadav and Mr. Nitish Kumar cobbled an alliance to better the BJP in ten assembly bye-elections. This offers proof that this writer’s prescription for creating a credible opposition suggested immediately after the NDA government assumed office had merit. It was proposed that regional parties unite nationwide with a federal party constitution and create a viable national alternative. But there is a long way to go. If regional parties can stay the course they have more than even chance to wrest power in the next general election. This is what they must do.
First, they must junk the Congress but welcome all Congress leaders. Media attributed the by-poll victory to Congress and allies. The victory was of regional parties and Congress. Congress is history. The Congress could have reinvented itself as the Indian Federal Congress. It missed the bus. If competent Congress leaders do not join the emerging federal party they may be ignored.
Secondly a meeting of all regional parties should be convened. Let that be done by a leader publicly committed to abjuring any ministerial post in the centre or the state but confining himself to creating the new alternative. That would give him moral authority to influence other leaders. He would fulfill a historic task.
If regional leaders want to be serious power players they must follow a strategy above parochial interests. If they do it they can realistically aspire for power in the centre after the next general election. Are they up to it?
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