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'Congress must make electoral adjustments'

April 25, 2023 09:03 IST

'So must the Opposition where it is the dominant party in the state.'
'That is neither problematic nor impossible to achieve.'

IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, second from right, along with with Kapil Sibal, second from left, and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, right, addresses a press conference after the Opposition parties meeting in New Delhi, March 23, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Kapil Sibal, the Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from the Samajwadi Party, has been an indefatigable critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He was Union minister from the Congress and later moved to the Samajwadi Party.

He has low hopes of Parliament functioning normally in the run-up to 2024 and tells Aditi Phadnis/Business Standard that the Congress must make the bigger sacrifices in the interests of Opposition unity.


Parliament is a forum for the Opposition to make its point. Now there's only the monsoon session and the winter session left and the 2024 elections will be upon us.
What should we expect to see in Parliament in the run-up?

Parliament is also a forum where the Treasury benches allow the Opposition to make its point.

Given the perceptible animosity evident in the toxic discourse outside Parliament and how both Houses are being run, the monsoon and winter sessions will meet the same fate.

It suits the government because it does not have to deal with issues where it will be on the back foot.

The Supreme Court has thrown out the petition that seemed to unite the Opposition: The action of central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. Now what?
What can the Opposition come together on?

The Opposition still stands united on the issue of misuse of central agencies like the ED, CBI, and the National Investigation Agency, in destabilising elected governments where the Opposition is in power.

The petition filed sought the Supreme Court to issue guidelines in the context of their excesses. The Supreme Court observed the guidelines cannot be issued in favour of the political class.

However, it also said that it may examine the issue of excesses in a given case.

I am a little puzzled as to why such a petition was filed, given the fact that when statutes are in place, to issue guidelines would be legally unwarranted.

The Supreme Court rightly did not entertain the petition. But its dismissal will have no impact on Opposition unity.

The Opposition can come together on a wide range of issues: Destabilising and toppling elected governments, unemployment, inflation, crony capitalism, electronic voting machines, seeking to dismantle the federal structure, issues relating to education and health, etc.

I do not doubt that it will come together, maybe not in the manner you expect.

You've always opposed the BJP, whether in the Congress or out of it. Where does the Opposition problem lie?
Why does it find it so difficult to come together?

There is no party other than the Congress that can take this forward.

It must take the lead and make electoral adjustments where required.

So must the Opposition where it is the dominant party in the state. That is neither problematic nor impossible to achieve.

Do you see any prospect of one Opposition candidate against one from the BJP in the 2024 elections?

Anybody's guess!

Aditi Phadnis
Source: source image