The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, also known as INDIA, the opposition bloc, was formed in July 2023. At least 26 opposition parties had come together in their ‘mission’ to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections. However, the opposition bloc has been hit by a series of setback even before the Election Commission has announced the dates for the upcoming general elections. ALSO READ: INDIA alliance strong, quitting of 2 parties will have no impact: Jairam Ramesh“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. Here are the events that took place in the last one month, indicating that all is not well within the INDIA bloc:-
Maha Cong exits
On January 10, the INDIA alliance members had reached at an ‘understanding’ for nearly 40 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra while negotiations were underway for the remaining eight seats in the state, HT had learnt. Just four days later, Congress leader Milind Deora resigned from the party and joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Less than a month later, Baba Siddique, a three-term legislator from Bandra West assembly constituency, quit the grand old party and joined Ajit Pawar’s NCP. But the Congress suffered the biggest jolt on Monday when former chief minister Ashok Chavan too resigned from the party and joined the BJP.
Nitish dumps INDIA for Modi’s NDA
In June 2023, Nitish Kumar had initiated the opposition unity move and brought non-BJP parties together for a meeting in Patna. A month later, the INDIA alliance was formed. However, the Bihar chief minister stunned his allies on June 28 when he dumped his friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-turned-foe-turned-friend again Rashtriya Janata Dal to return to the NDA fold. He took oath as the chief minister for the ninth time in his political career, the first being in 2000, and successfully proved majority in the assembly on Monday. “Before this, his father and mother got the chance to work, what happened in Bihar then? Would anybody dare to go out at night at that time? Was there any road?” Kumar said while attacking the RJD.
Jayant Chaudhary’s RLD to join NDA
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that ex-PM Chaudhary Charan Singh will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. “Dil Jeet Liya,” Jayant Chaudhary, the Rashtriya Lok Dal chief, also the grandson of the late former prime minister, posted on X.“Koi kasar rehti hai? Aaj main kis muh se inkaar karoon aapke sawalon ko (Is there any doubt? How can I refuse today?),” Chaudhary had said when asked if he is joining the NDA. HT has learnt that the BJP-RLD alliance is just an announcement away. The RLD, that enjoys considerable clout in western UP, had fought in an alliance with the SP and BSP in 2019 Lok Sabha election and with the SP in 2022 assembly election. The announcement is definitely a blow for both SP and the Congress that were looking to consolidate its fight against the BJP, that had won 62 seats in the state.
Kejriwal declares to contest LS polls in Punjab alone
Last week, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that his Aam Aadmi Party will contest all 13 seats in Punjab and one in Chandigarh alone.
“For Lok Sabha elections, Punjab has 13 seats and one from Chandigarh – a total of 14 seats. In the next 10-15 days, AAP will declare its candidates in all of these 14 seats,” Kejriwal had said, extinguishing any hopes of an INDIA alliance joint fight in the state which it won by a landslide majority in 2022.ALSO READ: AAP gives Congress a poll offer, says doesn’t deserve even one seat on merit
Mamata dumps INDIA allies Cong, Left
Mamata Banerjee, a vociferous critic of the Modi dispensation and an active member of the INDIA bloc, dealt a blow last month by announcing her decision to contest all 42 seats in Bengal alone. Days later, she even took a jibe at the Congress saying that it was doubtful if the grand old party would win even 40 seats in the upcoming elections. Banerjee, who had taken over as the chief minister after ending the Left’s 34-year-long rule in the state, had ruled out alliance with the CPM.