Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Setbacks plague INDIA Opposition Bloc

INDIA Bloc is facing several setbacks even before the dates of Lok Sabha Elections are out. Here’s the proof that ‘all is not well’ with the INDIA Bloc.

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Courtesy: IANS

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), an opposition coalition formed in July 2023 with the aim of challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, has faced a series of setbacks even before the Election Commission announced dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“The Congress cannot think beyond a single family. A few days ago, they put together a 'Bhanumati ka Kunba (Bhanumati's clan, meaning a group of disparate people)' but then they started 'Ekla chalo re (Walk alone),” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his veiled jibe at INDIA during his address to the Lok Sabha last week.

“The Congress has recently learnt the work of an auto mechanic, so they should by now know what alignment is. But they have managed to throw the Opposition alliance out of alignment... They do not trust each other. How can they have faith in the country,” the prime minister had added.

Nonetheless, here are the key five setbacks that INDIA Bloc seems to have facing right now. 

Congress Exodus in Maharashtra: Despite initial understandings within the INDIA alliance regarding Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the Congress party witnessed significant defections. Milind Deora and Baba Siddique resigned from the Congress, with Deora joining the Shiv Sena and Siddique aligning with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's subsequent resignation and move to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) further weakened the Congress within the alliance.

Nitish Kumar's Reversal: Nitish Kumar, who played a pivotal role in initiating the opposition unity movement and forming the INDIA alliance, shocked allies by rejoining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). His return to the NDA fold and subsequent reappointment as Bihar's Chief Minister underscored shifting political dynamics and weakened opposition unity in the state.

RLD's Alliance Shift: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary's indication of joining the NDA dealt a blow to opposition hopes, especially in western Uttar Pradesh. The RLD's potential alliance with the BJP could alter electoral equations, posing challenges for the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress in the region.

AAP's Punjab Solo Act: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's announcement that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would contest all seats in Punjab and Chandigarh independently dashed hopes of an INDIA alliance joint fight in the state. This move reshaped electoral strategies and posed challenges for opposition coordination in Punjab.

Mamata Banerjee's Bengal Solo Run: Mamata Banerjee's decision to contest all 42 seats in West Bengal independently dealt a blow to opposition unity efforts. Her rejection of alliances with the Congress and Left Front further complicated the opposition's prospects in the state, highlighting internal divisions within the INDIA bloc.

These setbacks underscore challenges facing the opposition ahead of the elections. Internal discord, defections, and strategic realignments have weakened the cohesion and effectiveness of the INDIA alliance, posing hurdles to its goal of unseating the ruling government. As the electoral landscape evolves, opposition parties must navigate these challenges to mount a credible challenge to the incumbent government.