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What Led to INDIA Bloc Collapse Just Before LS Polls? What will Congress Do Now | Explained – News18


The INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc that was created last July to stop the BJP from securing another win in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections seems to be disintegrating, with strong parties such as Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) withdrawing their support to the Congress over seat sharing.

The tension between the opposition parties and the Congress is palpable as Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav yesterday refused to join Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay march until the seat-sharing decision is made for the Lok Sabha elections.

Reports suggest that both SP and Congress have failed to arrive at a decision on the seat-sharing talks held on February 19 as Akhilesh Yadav is not ready to give Bijnor, Ballia and Moradabad seats to the Congress.

According to an India Today report, which quotes sources, the Congress was fighting the Ballia seat, which is considered to be the stronghold of the SP, for its state president Ajay Rai. The SP won the Moradabad seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections while the Congress stood second.

The SP has already declared candidates for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, including don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother and MP Afzal Ansari.

The JD(U), which was the integral part of the formation of INDIA, is no longer part of the alliance after Nitish Kumar mentioned to media that “everything was not alright” there, and returned to the NDA fold.

What about AAP and TMC?

TMC supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee had made it clear last month that her party will go alone in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, paving way for a three-cornered battle that will have TMC and BJP consolidate votes while the Congress-Left combine as the third entity can eat into the TMC votes in the minority-dominated pockets of West Bengal.

TMC had offered Congress two seats in West Bengal based on its performance in the last Lok Sabha elections where it could get less than 4% of the vote share. But the Congress was adamant on its demand, with its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury making comments that upset Banerjee.

The Bengal CM also expressed her resentment towards Congress at a press conference, and warned it to stay away from the politics of regional parties. “We have said already, let regional parties take on BJP in their area, and let Congress fight BJP in 300 seats,” she had said.

Meanwhile, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has said it will also fight the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi alone, snubbing the Congress. The BJP won all seven seats in Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Kejriwal also clarified that he has no intention to tie up with the Congress for 13 seats in Punjab and one in Chandigarh for the 2024 general elections.

A report by The Hindu quoting a top AAP leader said, “On select seats, where the BJP or Akalis are strong, we can have an understanding to support each other. But there is no need for a pan-Punjab seat division.”

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, the Congress had won eight seats as against the SAD’s two seats and the BJP’s two. The AAP had then won just one seat. The Chandigarh seat was won by the BJP’s Kirron Kher.

What is the Congress Stand?

Senior Congress MP and general secretary media in charge Jairam Ramesh said the party cannot imagine INDIA without the TMC. He stated that some middle path will emerge, and the INDIA alliance with the polls in West Bengal.

The Congress has already announced last month that it will contest on 255 seats for the upcoming elections, which is a lesser number of seats than in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress contested 421 seats and won 52. It was part of alliances in Bihar (with RJD), Maharashtra (NCP), Karnataka (JDS), Jharkhand (JMM) and Tamil Nadu (DMK).

The party said it has decided to hold talks with INDIA parties on a state-to-state basis, “keeping their influence in view”.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has asked the parties to bury their differences, and refrain from making any remarks against each other about the internal matters of the party.

What is the Way Forward?

The INDIA bloc of 28 Opposition parties since its formation in Patna seven months ago has not held any big outreach programme to impress voters. Its constant fight for perception building has open more wounds of internal squabbling than it can hide.

The alliance is staring at a crisis and is struggling to keep its structure intact for joint campaign or election strategy.

The Congress will have to look at state alliances depending on seat-sharing pacts and post-poll tie-ups. Congress losing key states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the BJP highlights unresolved conflict (Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot), anti-incumbency (old horse Kamal Nath), overconfidence (Bhupesh Baghel) and no importance to state leadership can lead to downfall.



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