With the Congress failing to hold its ground against four-time chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Madhya Pradesh elections and exploiting anti-incumbency politics in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the main opposition party appears to have little choice than to return to the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) wants to once again pose a common challenge to the Modi-led BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge addressed the partner leaders for the INDIA bloc meeting on December 6 after his bargaining power appeared to be influenced by the positive positioning it had after winning the Karnataka Assembly polls and the initial assessment that it had a good one performance seems to have deviated in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
Riding on this confidence, Kharge said on October 25 that seat-sharing talks in the INDIA bloc for the Lok Sabha election would take place after the results of the assembly elections in the five states were announced. The results of the Mizoram elections have been postponed and would be declared on Monday.
Before these assembly polls were set to set the mood for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the INDIA bloc was unable to forge an alliance between friendly parties in the five states, largely due to conflicting political interests among themselves and the intransigent approach of the Congress opposition leaders said. For example, the feud between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) over the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives was evident in the run-up to the elections when former chief minister Kamal Nath disparaged former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Although tall Maharashtra leader and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar believes Sunday’s results would have little impact on the INDIA bloc, which hosts 25 opposition parties, others disagree.
National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah told reporters in Udhampur that the opposition alliance cannot win polls if the situation remains the same in future. “On December 6, the Congress chief invited some leaders of the INDIA Alliance for lunch. After three months, they recalled the INDIA Alliance. Let’s see,” he remarked on what INDIA has ahead.
Abdullah, who will also face elections in Jammu and Kashmir, most likely either with or after the Lok Sabha polls, also stated that the Congress should have shared seats in Madhya Pradesh with its INDIA bloc partner, the Samajwadi Party. Interestingly, the NC chief hinted that his party will contest the polls alone from J&K, where fellow INDIA bloc partners Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are also a formidable political force.
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