NCP leader Supriya Sule and other opposition leaders from Maharashtra at a meeting organised in Mumbai on February 13, 2023, to oppose controversial resolution by the Maharashtra government on inter-faith marriages. Photo: Twitter/@supriya_sule.

Opposition leaders can act as the public conscience on sensitive legislation when times require courage. The Wire one of India’s new media sources runs a story providing an example.

Maharashtra opposition parties, from Congress to moderate Shiv Sena, have united to form a review panel to oppose state government efforts to monitor — read discourage — inter-faith marriages. Maharashtra has traditionally been a thought leader in religious tolerance even as it suffered through communal conflicts. The government proposals dubbed as an assault on love appear to need a sober second look.

Opposition voices can cut through the ambition politics, logrolling, and special interest deals that too often lead to government policies destined to create short-sighted gains with long-term costs.

I had the honour to know Dr. P.C. Alexander, Principal Secretary to PM Indira Gandhi, a Governor of Maharashtra and a member of the Raj Sabha. Though a career civil servant, he had deeply understood the need for diverse political voices and debate. His memoir, Through the Corridors of Power, covers the role the opposition played in strengthening India’s remarkable democracy.

He would have supported the Maharashtra opposition’s cooperation in support of inter-faith marriage.