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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | I.N.D.I.A. experiment shows a united Opposition could spell trouble for BJP

Attempts to form a united platform ahead of 2019 did not fructify leading to fragmentation of anti-BJP votes. Learning from the elections five years ago, Opposition leaders got together last year and marathon discussions over months gave form to a new alliance.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 17:08 IST
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 17:08 IST

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New Delhi: For the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, the 2024 Lok Sabha results proves a point it failed to learn for almost ten years – a united Opposition could spell trouble for the BJP.

A hard task awaits the bloc’s leadership to steer the arrangement for the next five years without losing focus as fragile egos and frayed tempers marked the run up to the Lok Sabha election this year with enthusiastic allies accusing Congress of inertia in setting the house in order.

At the same time, BJP will also be on tenterhooks as a resurgent Opposition in Lok Sabha – where it had its writ run with massive numbers so far. Also, the BJP will face trouble from its allies, whose bargaining power has increased with a depleted BJP.

The Opposition bloc had a coherent and consistent narrative this time across the country though parties like Trinamool Congress were not in agreement with the caste census pitch of Congress and pro-Mandal parties.

Attempts to form a united platform ahead of 2019 did not fructify leading to fragmentation of anti-BJP votes. Learning from the elections five years ago, Opposition leaders got together last year and marathon discussions over months gave form to a new alliance.

Trinamool Congress made it clear it could not go with the Congress at the earliest, while Samajwadi Party played hardball in negotiations and even threatened to walk out over delay in seat finalisation. However, Congress managed to strike a deal with SP in Uttar Pradesh and AAP in some states.

How important the alliance in UP could be seen from the numbers I.N.D.I.A. cobbled in the politically important state – SP won 37 and Congress six. Congress did improve its tally from the lone Raebareli seat last time while reclaiming Gandhi family burrough Amethi.

The UP tally gave a substantial weight to the 233 seats its 19 partners managed in states across the country. If you add two independents supporting the bloc, it would come to 235. Newly-elected MPs like Chandrasekhar Azad are also likely support the Opposition.

The Opposition bloc winning so many seats as against NDA’s 293 sent jitters in the ruling camp amid chatter about the possibility of TDP and JD(U) – both had done business with I.N.D.I.A. partners – shifting sides.

While Bihar has been a disappointment for I.N.D.I.A., Maharashtra was a prestige battle for the bloc as the splits in Shiv Sena and NCP engineered by the BJP were meant to hamper the prospects of the Opposition bloc.

Capitalising on people’s mood, the I.N.D.I.A. bloc or the Maha Vikas Agadhi in Maharashtra won 31 seats, including an independent, while the NDA were reduced to 17 from 41 five years ago.

The results came despite senior leaders like Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora among others deserted Congress while Ajit Pawar dealt a blow to his uncle Sharad Pawar by claiming the original NCP. Eknath Shinde split from Uddhav Thackeray to claim Shiv Sena and oust the latter from government.

Congress also was accommodative, leaving two seats for AAP in Gujarat and one in Haryana while agreeing for three seats for itself in Delhi. It also conceded seats to Left parties in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and other seats while CPI(M) withdrew its candidate in a seat NCP was fighting in Maharashtra.

In Rajasthan, Congress also left one each seat for Bharatiya Adivasi Party and RLP while it gave Khajuraho seat to SP, where its candidate’s nomination was rejected. One state that I.N.D.I.A. experiment did not work much was Jammu and Kashmir though the results were not favourable for BJP too.

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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

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Published 04 June 2024, 17:08 IST

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