It was a cold February evening when I was returning from the IGI Airport in Delhi to my place, something which took usually an hour or less to cover the distance. The roads of Delhi may be curved and full of sudden turns but are always occupied by those seeking to undertake such adventures. Never has there been any such evening where the roads didn’t see any quarrel or road – rage but still, the roads never cease to take us to our destinations. So, while returning back to my home, I had to face some extra turns and curves, dimming the flame of my happiness of returning home with each and every turn. The barricades and heavy police presence seemed to have a taxing impact on the minds of those waiting in heavy traffic, who were already frustrated by the ongoing protests on the CAA and NRC issue. Everyone was entitled to their opinion, and that’s what the soul of the constitution gives us right to.

But who was right? Who is actually right in a democracy? Does there even exist something perfectly right? Is the ruling party always right? Is criticizing the ruling party always right? Is not questioning the vires of the ruling government always right?

Here’s exactly when the role of opposition comes into the picture. Simply putting together, opposition is what follows every statement. Even in childhood, the child’s actions are sometimes opposed by the parents for the greater good of the child, however in the growing years, the tables turn. In politics too, opposition has an inevitable role. It is the one which protects Democracy from becoming Democrazy. According to Vladimir Putin, “government should solve problems, the opposition should criticize the government and offer alternative solutions”. For a healthy democracy, one of the basic requirements is to have a strong political opposition which should always have a position to influence the decisions and authority of the ruling government for the greater good of the citizens of the country. Had there been no opposition, there would have been a political monolithism which could enforce and legislate it’s own will based on their political, religious, sexual, ideological, racial or dogmatic inclination. Thus one of the major political achievements of our country is to have a recognized political opposition. In simpler words, every patriot must be ready to defend its country against tyranny of the government, be it any era or party.

The roots of recognition of opposition lie deep into the historical journey of India. The newly independent India supported the only fully functional political institution - The Indian National Congress found by Sir A.O Hume in 1885. In the first general elections of independent India in 1951-52, the party under the leadership of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru won both centre and state legislatives and enjoyed an unmatched support of the public based upon the legacies of revolutionary freedom fighters and martyrs of freedom struggle. However, slowly in the 1962 general elections, the socialists, the communists, the Swatantra party and Jana Sangh started making impacts on the electoral support of the Congress and enjoyed support from certain similar thinking groups in various proviences. The war with china in 1962 led to further depreciation in the faith of voters in the party and led to progressing faith in the opposition. The death of Nehru in 1967 and split of congress into the one lead by then congress president K. Kamaraj and the other one by Smt. Indira Gandhi lead to demolition of the political monolith and creation of a new political structure where people became more aware of the role opposition can play in the betterment of decisions and opinions of the ruling party.

The role of opposition in the contemporary world is inevitable in order to protect it from political extremism and ensure a modern society based upon the values of constitutionalism and non – partisan inclination. In the present 17th Lok Sabha as well as the previous 16th Lok Sabha, Congress remains the leading opposition party with 52 and 47 seats respectively. However, due to the 10% Mavalankar rule, it is not qualified to have a leader of opposition which requires minimum 55 seats as Lok Sabha is a 543 – member house. The leader of opposition also known as the shadow prime minister is an important pillar of the parliamentary democracy who has an indispensable duty towards the parliament and the nation. He has to be a critic of those government policies which he deems to be not in favour of the people and against the greater good doctrine of the country. He also has a crucial role in establishing Bipartisanship and neutrality in the appointments of CVC, CBI, CIC and lokpals.

The opposition must not let it’s ideology of political statehood and policies embody the actions of it’s opposition and undermine the developemental policies of the rule – makers. If there exists criticism and unnecessary political tussle between the opposition and ruling party, the development of the country takes a back seat. Rightly said by Krishna to Arjuna in Bhagavata Gita – “It is a sin to commit injustice but it is a greater sin to tolerate injustice” and also “Whenever injustice prevails in the world and mankind is not able to break through its shackles, I will take birth here in the form of Incarnations and protect the mankind”, the role of opposition is just the same towards the stakeholders of the state and it is as necessary as soul to the body. Thus it would not be wrong to call the opposition as lord Krishna for the people when they need it the most.

At the end, though I was able to reach my place by taking some curves and turns, to same must happen with the democracy too. The turns may be sharper, but are worth every effort – be it the journey to reach home or the journey to work towards welfare and development of the country.