FPJ Editorial: Tough Road Ahead For I.N.D.I.A Alliance

FPJ Editorial: Tough Road Ahead For I.N.D.I.A Alliance

The Mahua Moitra case could well be a rallying point for the Opposition grouping as her expulsion is being viewed as a witch-hunt by the government and against the principles of natural justice.

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 12:47 AM IST
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I.N.D.I.A. Alliance | File pic

The I.N.D.I.A alliance of 28 Opposition parties appeared to be tottering following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s recent spectacular victory in three Hindi heartland states and the consequent rout of the Indian National Congress. However, the expulsion of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra from the Lok Sabha following an Ethics Committee report indicting her appears to have breathed new life into the Opposition bloc with all the parties rallying behind the firebrand MP. The Congress’ poor performance in the elections to the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan Assemblies brought to the fore differences in the grouping, as the Samajwadi Party and the TMC were quick to blame the Grand Old Party for poor poll preparedness and an unwillingness to reach seat-sharing arrangements with other parties.

A meeting of the alliance called by the Congress on December 6 had to be postponed as many parties expressed their unwillingness to attend it. The imputation was clear — the Congress was in no position to call the shots where the alliance was concerned as it was proving to be a liability rather than an asset in the tough task ahead, that of taking on the BJP government in the 2024 battle. These differences were apparent even during the poll campaign, especially the bitter falling out between Akhilesh Yadav’s SP and Congress veteran Kamal Nath. That appears to have been resolved thanks to some behind-the-scenes efforts and a meeting of the I.N.D.I.A alliance is now scheduled for December 19, with most important leaders agreeing to attend.

Mahua Moitra controversy

The Mahua Moitra case could well be a rallying point for the Opposition grouping as her expulsion is being viewed as a witch-hunt by the government and against the principles of natural justice. Even bitter rivals of the TMC such as Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Left leaders have backed her cause. Chowdhury pleaded in the Lok Sabha that she be given the right to reply to the charges levelled against her.

The Treasury benches ruled out Moitra’s rebuttal citing past precedent and the motion to expel the MP was hastily adopted after an Opposition walkout. The MP made an eloquent defence of her case on the steps of the new Parliament building flanked by a bevy of attentive Opposition leaders, including Sonia Gandhi. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee appreciated this gesture towards her party member and it seems the I.N.D.I.A alliance is back on track, but with just months to go for the big electoral battle of 2024 the Opposition bloc has an arduous journey ahead to achieve its stated objective of overthrowing the BJP led government at the Centre. No common agenda has been set and if the Assembly elections are anything to go by, poll tie-ups among the various parties are unlikely to fructify. The Narendra Modi juggernaut appears to be well and truly unstoppable.

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