Analysis: Has I.N.D.I.A alliance crashed before landing?

Analysis: Has I.N.D.I.A alliance crashed before landing?

When the seat-sharing talks will be finalised, no one knows as of now — but there are enough signals to indicate that the alliance is becoming ineffectual and fruitless

Neelu VyasUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 07:11 PM IST
article-image
I.N.D.I.A Alliance | File pic

With barely a few weeks left for the Election Commission to announce the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, the question which bothers many is, which way is the I.N.D.I.A alliance headed? The euphoric start, from its first meeting in Patna, then Bengaluru followed by Mumbai and Delhi, is now replaced with generalisations like the bloc hitting turbulence, the alliance not moving smoothly in accordance with its desired goals and objectives. The first meeting of the alliance was in June 2023; seven months down the line, I.N.D.I.A has failed to have a common secretariat, a convenor, there is no website to refer to. It is made up of 28 Opposition parties but questions on its cohesion and unity continue to prevail. Opposition allies met virtually on January 13 with Mamata Banerjee giving an explicit miss with an ultimatum to the Congress that she is not ready to give more than three seats to the Grand Old Party. Despite this furious stipulation, Rahul Gandhi seemed to have pressed for Mamata's nod before finalising Nitish Kumar's name for the post of convenor. Just a day before a consensus was reached on announcing the chairperson and convenor on the basis of the majority view. Mallikarjun Kharge was named as the chairperson but Nitish was left high and dry and which is why he felt slighted and rebuffed. Rahul pressing for Mamta's concurrence for Nitish as convenor gave allies allies like JDU and RJD a chance to say that Congress is trying to burn bridges with its old allies at the cost of new ones. RJD MP Manoj Jha tweeted "एक तथ्य जो कई लेखों में #BertrandRussell कह गए हैं. इन्सान की सबसे अहम ज़रूरत साथी ढूंढना या यूँ कहें दोस्त बनाना है. लेकिन कई दफा हम नयी दोस्ती ढूँढने में पुराने से किनारा कर लेते हैं या उन्हें taken for granted लेते हैं. बस फिर बाबा भारती वाली 'हार की जीत' कहानी याद आती है." This tweet clearly shows Manoj Jha's disappointment and a muted anger directed at the Congress. Sources within RJD and JDU have conveyed that if Congress doesn't make amends quickly they will be forced to chart out their own course.

Akhilesh Yadav and Uddhav Thackeray were also not present at the January 13 virtual meeting, and their absence set tongues wagging because so far after every alliance meeting there used to be a conventional press briefing which did not happen this time except for a tweet from Mallikarjun Kharge that the meeting happened in a cordial atmosphere. When the seat-sharing talks will be finalised, no one knows as of now — but there are enough signals to indicate that the alliance is becoming ineffectual and fruitless, and the sluggish pace is all the more demotivating, leaving little hope. The onus clearly lies on the Congress, but there are big questions on how the grand old party is focusing too much on Rahul's Nyay Yatra at a time when seat sharing and the Common Minimum Programme should be the topmost priority. The sole responsibility now lies on the shoulders of the Congress to make or break the alliance. Undoubtedly, Opposition parties do seem to have started charting out their solo plans if the Congress continues with its lack of response and static approach. The Opposition is already being accused of taking an ambiguous stand on the Ram temple inauguration event, more so after welcoming the Supreme Court judgement. The BJP has, very obviously, made the Ayodhya event into a poll gimmick for electoral gains, but by boycotting the event the Opposition parties have left the ground clear for the BJP and RSS. The frenzy, euphoria and exultation around the Ram temple event has also in a way taken the wind out of the sails of the Opposition. All eyes are now on when the joint campaign starts; a probable date discussed earlier was January 30 but the likelihood of that seems remote. If the elections are advanced after January 22, what will the Opposition parties do then? Well, it's frightening to fathom that situation as the country can in no way afford another term of a more aggressive and brute majority of one party. The country does need a strong Opposition, as they are the real voices of the people. How strong the Opposition I.N.D.I.A bloc will emerge is yet to be seen.

Neelu Vyas is a senior television anchor and consulting editor with Satya Hindi. Twitter: @neeluopines

RECENT STORIES

Editorial: The Irrelevance Of Being Raj Thackeray

Editorial: The Irrelevance Of Being Raj Thackeray

Analysis: Voters Must Not Get Distracted By Rhetoric

Analysis: Voters Must Not Get Distracted By Rhetoric

Analysis: Why The Skymet Forecast Matters To Policymakers

Analysis: Why The Skymet Forecast Matters To Policymakers

Editorial: Unemployment & Price Rise Hurt — But Are Not Electoral Issues

Editorial: Unemployment & Price Rise Hurt — But Are Not Electoral Issues

Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord...

Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord...