Sharad Pawar cited the defeat of Congress in 1977 to a united opposition under Morarji Desai.
“In 1977, the downfall of one party started, and at one point, the government collapsed. A similar situation can be a possibility now if the opposition comes together,” Mr Pawar told reporters, without naming the Congress. After the nearly two-year-long emergency, the ruling Congress was trounced in the general election by the Morarji Desai-led coalition, which remained in power till 1980.
The NCP chief’s comments came days after a shot in the arm for the united opposition — the BJP’s defeat in the by-elections in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh.
Extending the formula that won the crucial by-polls of Gorakhpur and Phulpur — the constituencies of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Maurya — the Samajwadi Party, Mayawati and the Congress had come together to support the candidate of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The victory had spinoffs in Noorpur, the assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh, which was won by the Samajwadi Party, and in Bihar, where Lalu Yadav’s RJD won the Jokihat assembly seat.
The idea of a united opposition received boost at the oath ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy last month, as leaders of more than a dozen opposition parties got together in a huge show of strength.
The Congress and the JDS had come together in Karnataka in a last minute twist to keep the BJP out of power. In an unexpected move, the national party had chosen to play second fiddle to the regional partner – holding out hope for a new power equation for regional parties.