Md. Hifzur Rahman*
Now everybody is talking about post COVID19 lockdown economic scenario. As novel coronavirus pandemic has overshadowed our daily activities, politics has taken a backseat. But, not the far as we assume. Politics is always there, though in different uniform. As the lockdown restrictions are being eased in phased manner, so also the political temperament is brewing up in the same proportion. The Election Commission of India has set the nation in political mode announcing the date for Rajya sabha election day before yesterday.
Before declaration of nationwide lockdown, last political drama unfolded in Madhya Pradesh where Kamal Nath government was dislodged following rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia. What happened after that was no secret. In between, role of two governors kept the political water boiling. One in West Bengal and the other in Maharashtra. Thanks to the intervention of Prime minister Narendra Modi which cooled down the situation. But what is going to happen next nobody knows. Uncertainty continues. Threat of Karnataka formula continues to loom large over Rajasthan and Maharashtra politics. Needless to say that in Rajasthan Congress is enjoying wafer-thin majority. In Maharashtra, coalition government headed by Shiv Sena leader Udhav Thackeray is also not in a comfortable position.
In view of impending assembly elections in several states later this year and next year, political climate in the country is destined to get hotter. Bihar and Pondicherry are going to face poll this year. Similarly, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam will be facing the tests next year. Except Assam and Bihar, the rest four states are being ruled by non-BJP parties. With Bihar and Assam already in its pocket, BJP will definitely put all its strength to bring others into its fold. But it will not be so easy considering the plunging economy and plights of migrant labourers in particular.
Currently, BJP is ruling in 18 states –including six states where it has coalition government. In the coming assembly polls, BJP’s performance depends on its strategy vis-a-vis opposition parties’ strength. However, since the start of lockdown in March opposition parties seems to be in oblivion. Except Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka on one occasion, voices of other leaders have rarely been heard. Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banarjee was at loggerheads with Governor and also Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s taking on state BJP leaders made headlines for sometime. Otherwise, it looked as if opposition leaders were in deep slumber.
It seems there is hardly any issue except COVID19 lockdown-related economic crisis and plights of migrant labourers. Practically, the CAA, NRC, NPA and Kashmir issues are no longer in circulation. It does not mean that these issues have lost relevance. Once normalcy returns, they may again take center-stage. These issues laced with economic fallout may lead to an unprecedented situation. But now, it remains to be seen what strategy BJP and other opposition parties are going to adopt in the coming days.
The writer is a senior journalist and works with Odisha’s leading Odia daily Sambad.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of Sambad English.