India’s Opposition mulls Coalition as Election Nears

Indian opposition figures Akhilesh Yadav, left, and K. Chandrashekhar Rao, center, are among the politicians exploring the possibility of forming a third front to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right. (Nikkei montage/Reuters/Getty Images)

If one only studied Indian politics, you would still come to know 95 percent of the ins and outs of Opposition mechanics and strategy.The naxim applies especially in a First Past the Post (FPTP) system in a Westminster-style parliament. The size and diversity of India guarantee it will prove the testing grounds for all such maxims.

Take for example: the strength of the government party directly influences the willingness of the opposition parties to consider a coalition. Today, a year out from the next Indian election, the rumblings of the coalition, the so-called “third force,” has begun. The first force traditionally has been the Congress party led by the Gandhi family, but now diminished. The second force now in the ascendant has been the Hindu parties, led by the BJP and its charismatic leader, PM Narendra Modi. The third force has as its universe of support the state parties and it’s aspiring governors. Overseas observers sometimes are not aware that the strength and durability of democracy in India rests crucially upon its firm entrenchment in state politics.

The Nikkei article linked provides insights into the latest developments.

A more dramatic turn of events has been the sentencing of Rahul Gandhi to two years of prison for defaming Modi. Few expect him to serve his sentence. The pettiness of the charge and the unwanted shadow cast on the judicial system only strengthen the Congress party as it works its way back to political competitiveness.