FPJ Editorial: Big Ambition For I.N.D.I.A Bloc

FPJ Editorial: Big Ambition For I.N.D.I.A Bloc

The fourth meeting of the 28 parties, which together constitute the I.N.D.I.A bloc, in the national capital on Tuesday was overshadowed by the mass suspension of Opposition members from the two Houses of Parliament.

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, December 21, 2023, 12:34 AM IST
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I.N.D.I.A. Alliance | File pic

The fourth meeting of the 28 parties, which together constitute the I.N.D.I.A bloc, in the national capital on Tuesday was overshadowed by the mass suspension of Opposition members from the two Houses of Parliament. Admittedly, the suspensions spotlighted the complete lack of trust between the ruling dispensation and the Opposition. Demanding a statement from the Home Minister for what was indeed a serious lapse in Parliament security was natural. Suspension of a record number of MPs shows our Parliamentary democracy in poor light, and should have been avoided. Whether the bulk suspensions would help bind the disparate groups together only time would tell, but nominally some progress was made at the three-hour meeting of Opposition leaders.

Though it has always been a tough ask for the diverse groups to work out a seat-sharing arrangement for the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, nonetheless the conclave decided to finalise the distribution of seats among various constituents by the month-end. It is hard to see how this vital task can be accomplished smoothly within this deadline. The Congress party despite its currently low morale cannot be expected to bend over backwards to accommodate the claims of smaller groups. Meanwhile, no less intractable was the issue of its prime ministerial candidate.

On Tuesday, apparently the TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, bowled a googly, suggesting the name of the Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, for prime ministership, reportedly endorsed by AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal. Kharge himself dismissed the suggestion, arguing that the first task was to get a majority before thinking about a prime ministerial candidate. However, there was no time-line set for a common programme, common agenda. The main thrust of various speakers was on one-to-one contests against the BJP. A negative alliance without an inspiring leader and marketable programme can prove a non-starter.

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