A Varied Union of 28 Parties
INDIA’s political landscape is a mosaic of 28 different parties, each with its own ideologies and agendas. These parties, historically entangled in bitter conflicts, united three months ago with a common goal: to defeat the BJP government led by Narendra Modi. However, instead of presenting a united front, they appear to be at odds with each other, raising questions about their ability to work cohesively for a common purpose.
The recent cancellation of the joint opposition rally in Bhopal, announced by the coordination committee of the INDIA alliance, highlights the internal challenges facing this diverse group. While various reasons led to the rally’s cancellation, it underscores a lack of proper consultation within the alliance.
One of the key issues arose from the stance of MP Congress President Kamal Nath, who is pursuing a policy of soft Hindutva and hesitates to share a stage with DMK leaders due to their critical remarks about Sanatana Dharma. This divergence of views, while seemingly minor, reflects deeper ideological rifts within the alliance.
Initially, the coordination committee of INDIA had planned to hold its first rally in Patna. However, Tejashwi Yadav opposed this idea for two reasons. First, the RJD had initiated its ‘one-booth eight-youth’ program in preparation for the elections, keeping its cadre occupied. Second, he preferred more time to organize the rally at Gandhi Maidan, a substantial venue with a capacity of around five lakh people. This delay further complicated matters.
Additionally, when Bhopal was designated as the first rally’s venue, the Samajwadi Party requested at least six seats. The party held the second position in these constituencies, and unless Congress agreed, Akhilesh Yadav might not attend the rally.
Another contentious issue was the decision to boycott 14 news anchors, a decision that did not sit well with leaders like Nitish Kumar, who publicly expressed ignorance and displeasure, causing further discord. This decision should have undergone thorough deliberation before implementation.
Sanatana Dharma Controversy
The INDIA alliance also faced controversy surrounding the issue of Sanatana Dharma. DMK leaders from Tamil Nadu made statements about eradicating Sanatana Dharma, likening it to diseases like malaria and dengue. This stance created unnecessary conflict within the alliance, even though Congress distanced itself from the DMK’s viewpoint. What may suit DMK in Tamil Nadu may not align with the Samajwadi Party in UP or Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
Furthermore, disagreements persisted on other fronts. The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPM) resisted forming alliances with TMC in West Bengal and Congress in Kerala, though they were open to compromises in other states.
Congress faced strong opposition from its state units in Delhi and Punjab against dissociating from any alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The rivalry between these parties at the grassroots level intensified after AAP replaced Congress governments in both states.
The Path Ahead
The INDIA-bloc’s stance on women’s reservations is another noteworthy issue. However, this challenge can be deferred as the proposed bill is not expected to pass until after the delimitation exercise in 2026.
In conclusion, the INDIA alliance, comprised of 28 parties with diverse views and historical conflicts, faces significant internal disagreements and challenges. To achieve their common goal of opposing the BJP government, these parties must find a way to work cohesively and resolve their differences. Constant bickering may hinder their political success and the realization of their shared objectives.