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Fixing A Big Tent

Three years ahead of the next general elections, the anti-BJP camp grapples with the who, how and ­wherefore of coming together across party lines

Fixing A Big Tent
On Your Marks | Photograph by Suresh K. Pandey
Fixing A Big Tent
outlookindia.com
2021-07-02T14:49:35+05:30

Every time there is a realignment of opposition forces at the national level, the legacy of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia, known as the architect of coalition politics in India, is likely to be invoked. In 1967, after the Congress faced unprecedented losses in general elections and was defeated in assembly elections in several states for the first time, Lohia led the formation of the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal, an anti-­Congress coalition comprising the Bharatiya Kranti Dal, the Samyukta Socialist Party, the Praja Socialist Party and the Jana Sangh (precursor of the BJP). This coalition of legislators, including those from regional parties and defectors from the Congress, formed governments in many states. The era of coalition politics, which thus began with the BJP’s predecessor allying with parties with which it shared little except rivalry with the Congress, has come full circle with the RSS-affiliated party now in a position of dominance over national politics almost similar to what the 1967 coalition was ranged against. On the other side now are a disparate set of...

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