Leaders of almost all non-BJP political parties came together on Wednesday at the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister H. D. Kumaraswamy, who is heading a Congress-Janata Dal(S) coalition government. This has raised the prospect of a Modi versus Rest contest next year during the Lok Sabha elections, but the possibility of the emergence of a viable grand coalition is still nebulous.
There is no doubt that the fear of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought these non-BJP leaders together on a single platform. These leaders are worried about prospects of Modi sweeping the next LS polls. The formation of a Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka has encouraged these leaders. The Congress appears to be the happiest, and it has been consistently projecting this view that all opposition parties should unitedly confront Modi in next year's general elections.
However, the views of several other parties appear to be divergent. While TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu spoke about a "united front of regional parties", TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee too spoke about "unity of regional parties (as) the need of the hour". Mamata Banerjee's view is that a national party like the Congress had to bow before a regional party in Karnataka, and this development has energized other regional parties. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and RLD chief Ajit Singh are still not sure whether a rainbow alliance would emerge or not.
There are many states where the regional parties are pitted directly against the BJP. In some states, the Congress and BJP face each other as main rivals to the exclusion of others. Such an alliance may not matter much in these states. But, in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which witness triangular contests, the Congress and regional parties can join hands and give a strong challenge to the BJP.
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