The fourth meeting of the opposition alliance ‘Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’ i.e. INDIA was held on 19 December in Delhi. In this meeting, the strategy to be adopted against the BJP led NDA regarding the general elections 2024 was discussed. Nothing concrete came out of the meeting, but at present the message of unity among the opposition parties included in the alliance has definitely reached all the party workers and the common people.
The alliance of several opposition parties including Congress came into existence in July this year. At that time, seeing the strength of BJP, 26 parties united and formed the opposition alliance ‘India’ for the purpose of contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Now 28 parties are included in this alliance. In these five months, the question was repeatedly raised regarding the India alliance whether the unity among these parties will remain till the general elections 2024.
Trying to give a message of unity
During the elections held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram in November this year, reports of rift between the parties involved in the ‘India’ alliance were widely spread. Especially the news of lack of coordination between Congress and Samajwadi Party in Madhya Pradesh was given more importance than necessary. However, it was already clear that the ‘India’ alliance was not at all related to the assembly elections. This alliance has been formed keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2024.
Representatives of 28 parties participated in the fourth meeting of this alliance held on 19 December in Delhi. This has definitely sent a message of unity among the alliance to the people of the country. However, the real test of unity will be at the time of seat distribution. In the meeting held in Delhi, it was agreed to finalize the seat sharing by the second week of January 2024.
It is not easy to agree on seat sharing
Whether there will be unity among these opposition parties till the Lok Sabha elections of 2024 or not, largely depends on the stance of Congress regarding seat sharing. I am saying this because among the 28 parties included in the alliance, Congress is the only party whose support base is pan India. The support base of all the other parties is mainly or effectively limited to one particular state. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has an effective support base in Punjab and Delhi (Union Territory).
Regional parties will be able to leave aside personal interests!
If we think from this perspective, then whatever regional parties are there in the seat distribution, they would like to contest as many seats as possible in the states where they have special influence. On the other hand, Congress’s intention would also be to get back its old support base in these states. These states mainly include Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra and Hemant Soren in Jharkhand would like maximum seats for their respective parties. Similarly, leaders of MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu and Communist Party of India (Marxist) i.e. CPM in Kerala will push for more seats.
How will Congress find a solution in some states?
In all these states, these parties will try and expect that Congress should contest elections on minimum seats. In this way, to maintain the unity of the opposition alliance, the Congress in these states will have no other option but to make sacrifices. If Congress is not ready to bow down in these states, then it can be said with certainty that regional parties will not delay in leaving the opposition alliance ‘India’ considering their personal interests. These parties also know very well that except Maharashtra and Kerala, the situation of Congress in the states mentioned above is very pathetic at present.
It is also a fact that Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, JDU, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT) and MK Stalin will never compromise with their personal interests because the very existence of these parties is dependent on the state. Depend on the particular. If under the alliance these parties give more seats to Congress to contest elections in the states under their influence, then it will become dangerous for their political future. Besides, considering the miserable condition of Congress in these states at present, giving more seats to Congress would mean increasing the chances of BJP winning those seats.
Congress does not get much benefit from allies
There is another important aspect related to the Congress’s stance regarding the opposition alliance ‘India’. Apart from the states mentioned above, there are many states where BJP mainly faces direct competition with Congress. These states include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, to a large extent Karnataka and Assam. In these states, except Congress, all the parties included in the opposition alliance do not have any special role or influence.
This clearly means that in these states Congress is not going to get any special benefit from the other allies included in the alliance. In these states, Congress will not get help from allies, in the remaining states it will have to be ready to make sacrifices. These two aspects are such that in future the unity of the opposition alliance is going to completely depend on the stand of the Congress.
One thing is clear from the observation of all these facts that the 2024 elections are very important for the Congress to regain its lost political ground and to preserve its political existence and relevance. Apart from this, Congress has the maximum responsibility of keeping the opposition parties united in order to present a strong challenge to the BJP, which appears to be very powerful at the central level.
How effective is forced alliance?
However, there is a very important dimension regarding the unity of ‘India’ alliance, which is simultaneously its strong side and also its weak side. It would not be an exaggeration to call this alliance an alliance of compulsion. The way BJP’s political status and power has increased in the last decade, it has raised a question mark on the future of Congress as well as most of the parties limited to a particular state. If we relate it to relevance in central level politics, then this applies completely.
Difficult to challenge BJP alone
Considering the political status or power that BJP holds in the current central politics, even thinking of any one opposition party presenting even a mild challenge to BJP in the 2024 elections is like seeing stars during the day. Despite having a pan India support base, neither Congress nor any other party can think like this. Whatever people or political analysts claim, this is the reality and ground reality. If no such alliance of opposition parties is formed for 2024, then the 2024 election fight would have remained a mere mere fulfillment for BJP. If we say this, it will not be surprising. With the formation of opposition alliance ‘India’, at least it has happened that BJP will have to make efforts in the political fight of 2024.
BJP has less chances of loss in UP
How much trouble BJP will face from the opposition alliance ‘India’ in the general elections 2024 will largely or completely depend on the performance of Congress. Uttar Pradesh is the biggest strength of BJP. In both 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP got the maximum number of seats from this state. Even in 2024, there is every possibility that BJP will get maximum seats from this state. This time Samajwadi Party and Congress will contest elections together. Despite that, there is very little possibility that BJP will suffer any major loss from the opposition alliance ‘India’ in Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati is not a part of the opposition alliance. He is also not a part of NDA. This means that his party BSP will contest the elections alone in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati’s political status and power has reduced significantly in the last decade. Despite this, his party still has a good vote bank in Uttar Pradesh. Whether or not BSP gets any benefit from Mayawati’s decision to stay away from the opposition alliance, BJP is going to get a lot of benefit. There will be fragmentation of anti-BJP votes in Uttar Pradesh and this is quite harmful for the intentions of the opposition alliance.
Political mathematics of Bihar and West Bengal
After Uttar Pradesh, NDA got the maximum seats from Bihar. Although the NDA may suffer a loss in Bihar due to the changed circumstances in 2024, there is little possibility of BJP’s seats decreasing significantly as compared to 2019. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, BJP and Nitish Kumar’s party JDU contested together. In the general elections, 2024, there will be a combined force of RJD, JDU and Congress against BJP in Bihar. In view of this, it can be said that NDA will not win 39 out of 40 seats in Bihar like in 2019.
This time in West Bengal, if Congress and CPM make sacrifices and Mamata Banerjee’s party contests most of the seats in the state, then it will not be easy for BJP to repeat its 2019 performance here. BJP was successful in winning 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats of West Bengal in 2019.
A lot depends on the performance of Congress
Apart from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam are the states with real strength of BJP. In these states, BJP is in a position to win 100 percent Lok Sabha seats. In 2014 and 2019, BJP had won most of the seats from these states. These are all such states where there is a direct contest between BJP and Congress. If it really wants to give a blow to BJP in the general elections in 2024, then Congress will have to perform better in these states, which is not an easy task considering the current political situation. In these states, Congress is not expected to get any help from the other allies of ‘India’ alliance.
Keeping an eye on the states where BJP is strong
Apart from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam, the position of Congress is not good in terms of Lok Sabha elections. Recently, Congress had to face defeat from BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections. However, I believe that Lok Sabha elections are completely different from Legislative Assembly elections. In that too, BJP has proved many times that even if Congress remains in power in the state, the people of those states have showered their love on BJP in the Lok Sabha.
If Congress surprises with its performance in these states in the 2024 election battle, then only then BJP will suffer a big loss. Only if this happens, BJP may face difficulty in reaching power at the Center for the third consecutive time. It is not easy for Congress to do this work.
Congress will lead the opposition alliance!
If we think from Congress’ point of view, a positive aspect has emerged in the opposition alliance meeting held in Delhi. It was not formally announced, but after the meeting, news came out that Mamata Banerjee proposed the name of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge as the Prime Ministerial candidate on behalf of the opposition alliance. Arvind Kejriwal also supported it. However, Mallikarjun Kharge made it clear that a decision regarding the Prime Ministerial candidate will be taken only after victory in the elections.
One thing has become clear from the talks of Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal that all the parties of the opposition alliance have now started believing that only Congress can lead this alliance. There is another aspect to this also. Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have also indicated that if the result after the elections is in favor of the opposition alliance, then they are not going to agree on the name of Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
Overall, it can be said that what will be the outline of the opposition alliance, how will the seats be distributed in different states, whether unity will remain intact till the elections or not… the entire blame for this will be on Congress. Is. Only on the basis of the final decision on seat sharing by mid-January, it can be said to what extent the opposition alliance can pose a threat to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, 2024.
[नोट- उपरोक्त दिए गए विचार लेखक के व्यक्तिगत विचार हैं. यह ज़रूरी नहीं है कि एबीपी न्यूज़ ग्रुप इससे सहमत हो. इस लेख से जुड़े सभी दावे या आपत्ति के लिए सिर्फ लेखक ही जिम्मेदार है.]