NEW DELHI—On Friday morning, as Congress party leaders walked from Lodhi Road to the CBI headquarters in New Delhi to protest the government's perceived interference with the country's premier investigative agency, they were joined by Trinamool Congress's (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Md. Nadimul Haque, Communist Party of India's (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP D Raja and former Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav.
"Opposition parties are coming together on this issue," said Rajeev Gowda Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of the Congress' research department, in an interview with HuffPost India after the protest.
When asked what prompted him to participate in the Congress party's march, TMC MP Haque confirmed Gowda's statement. "My party sent me as a mark of solidarity with the issue. I got a call from the party spokesperson yesterday to go and represent the TMC at this march," he said. When asked if, in the near future, there will unanimity between the Congress party and the TMC on this issue, he said, "Yes, definitely."
As the biggest opposition party, the Congress was out on the streets in several cities in protest more than a week after indications resurfaced about corruption within the CBI.
The presence of other opposition party members, Congressmen believe, shows the CBI director's removal has helped add to the small but steadily growing list of issues around which the thus far elusive unity of opposition parties against the Narendra Modi-led government could be built.
This is significant for the state of play in the national politics because, in the recent past, the assembly state election campaigns have revealed just how brittle opposition unity is at present. The decision of Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati as well as Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav to go it alone in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh elections proved that a united electoral alliance appears to be easier said than done.
Therefore, issues around which the opposition finds a common ground reflect a potential space for a united national opposition against the incumbent regime. Several Congress and non-Congress leaders who participated in Friday's protest march told HuffPost India that the sacking of CBI director has created space for the opposition to come together against the government. Apart from Friday's protest, it appears the parties are now planning to petition the president seeking his intervention in the matter.
CPI's Rajya Sabha MP D Raja said, this was one of a significant number of other recent issues around which opposition parties have been coming together and will continue to do so. The momentum on this joint opposition protest will remain, in the forthcoming days, he said and "we will together approach the president with a memorandum as soon as he gives time."
Other issues that he referred to regarding opposition unity include the Rafale deal, which is being referred to as a scam, Non-performing assets of public sector banks etc.