In the name of INDIA

So the dial has been cast and sides have been chosen. This is for the final battle of 2024 and also the upcoming assembly elections of 3 Hindi Heartland states (M.P, C.G. & Rajasthan) and 2 other states. With less than 12 months to go, everyone is looking out for their best interest and choosing their friends and foes according to their politics and benefits. But they are doing all this in the name of the country.

The opposition has woken up and come together to form an alliance they are calling INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) and BJP has resurrected NDA(National Democratic Alliance.) What actually this alliance is we will discuss later in the article but for once you have to give it to the opposition that they have at least matched the BJPs acronym game, if not trumped it. BJPs have also done almost everyone in the name of the country and now the opposition has named itself INDIA only. If I had lost faith in democracy I would have quoted Samuel Johnson that ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’ but I would not got that far, at least as of now.

Let’s first come to the Opposition alliance because it’s the latest invention. So it’s an alliance of 26 parties which are in opposition in the centre. If you look at the list of these parties the only thing that will come to your mind will be ‘Kahi ki eat kahi ka roda, Bhanumati ne kunba joda’ because they don’t have anything strong in common apart from the common disliking towards Mr Modi (BJP). Ministers from the incumbent government are even saying that it’s an alliance of dynasts and corrupts.

So who is the Bhanumati here, it’s Sonia Gandhi only. Only she commands that much respect in opposition that can bring so many diverse parties under one roof. Now you will think if Sonia Gandhi is the central figure then what was the problem with UPA(United Progressive Alliance)? Firstly UPA was ‘Congress led’, in this INDIA alliance congress has strategically chosen not to take the driver’s seat because they have released data also showing that in a direct contest between BJP and Congress, BJP’s winning percentage is 92%. And secondly, the INDIA alliance does not have any ‘Common Minimum Programme’.

Now let’s give you an electoral picture of this INDIA alliance, in Lok Sabha INDIA alliance have 157 seats with a vote share of 38.5%. If we see party-wise, Congress is at the top with 49 seats followed by TMC (Trinamool Congress) with 23 seats, DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) in Talimnadu with 24 seats, JDU with 16 seats, SP and CPI(M) 3 each AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) only 1 and so on. The rest are those who have one seat either in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha (i.e. also having a presence in the assemblies of their respective state). The ones i have named above are those parties, whose leaders have Prime ministerial aspirations. This was one of the main reasons for them not coming together for a long time but now Congress has taken a back seat and it is speculated that the ‘Convener’ of the INDIA alliance would be a non-congress non-Gandhi person. This will be decided in Mumbai’s meeting on 25th August.

Now let me try and explain why I have used the ‘Bhanumati ka kunba’  analogy. The problem is not that they have nothing in common, apart from being at loggerheads with each other at the centre for the Prime Ministerial post, they are in opposition with each other in many states. INIDA alliance is saying they have 11 Chief Ministers in states between them and BJP has 10. This is more like a Galibs Khayal i.e. ‘Ham Ko Maaluum Hai Jannat Kii Hakiiqat Lekin, Dil Ke Behlaane Ko ‘Ghalib’ Ye Khayaal Achhaa Hai’ . Because if you look to try to look beyond the headlines you would see that at the centre there is no challenger to Mr. Modi in NDA and secondly in these 11 states, many of the members of the INDIA alliance have fought against each other to gain power. Like Congress and APP in Delhi and Punjab and coming up in Gujrat, Congress and TMC, TMC and CPI in Bengal. These state rivalries will severely impact the seat distribution and candidate selection during the election, something at which BJP is very strong.

Now let’s also look at the NDA alliance, since it’s an old alliance we already know about it, let’s just look at the latest development. First of all, it has been brought back to life after many years and on the same date when opposition parties kept their meeting. BJP might be thinking of it as a show of strength as the latest NDA consists of 38 parties, but the same date shows there is some rattling in BJP regarding opposition coming together and secondly, it contradicts Mr Modi’s ‘Ek Akela Kitno Ko Bhari Pad Raha Hai’ persona. If he is a one-man army why does he need to show that everyone is with me, i.e. 38 parties.

And if you look at the electoral picture of these 38 parties, it’s clearly visible that it’s just an eye wash or a photo opportunity. The 329 NDA seats are distributed amongst only 5 parties that too with BJP holding 301. Around 25 parties are such who have never fielded any of their candidate in state or central elections or never won any seat. Of the 42.9% NDA vote share BJP alone has 37%. But the newest two entrants i.e. Shivsena (Eknath Shinde faction) and NCP (Ajit powar faction) under the ‘Operation Lotus’ scheme have made things interesting. It will be interesting to see how seats and power distribution will happen now, will BJP seed some of its power to them or they will fall in line behind Mr Modi like others?

Lastly, there are still some parties which have not chosen any camp yet, like BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party), BJD (Biju Janata Dal) in Odisha, YSRCP (Jaganmohan Reddy) in Andhra Pradesh, ( BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi, KCR), SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) and some more. But with the run-up to elections they will, because in today’s corporatised style of politics, there are no common ideologies of politicians, there are only Common interests which unfortunately aren’t aligned with the interests of common people.

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