Home Business For Congress And Its Allies, The Signals For 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Are Ominous | Arabian Weekly

For Congress And Its Allies, The Signals For 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Are Ominous | Arabian Weekly

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For Congress And Its Allies, The Signals For 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Are Ominous | Arabian Weekly

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By Nitya Chakraborty

Let us call the spade a spade. The results of the five state assemblies announced on December 3 and 4 are sending ominous signals to the anti-BJP opposition just four months before the Lok Sabha elections due in April/May 2024. To be frank, the final results leading to the defeat of the Congress at the hands of its main rival BJP in three North Indian states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh is a disaster..The impact of this massive win will neutralise the victory of the Congress in Telangana defeating the BRS on national plane.

There are many lessons from the state assembly polls results. The most important is the perceptible shift in the political mood of the electorate in these three heartland states of the country in favour of BJP. It is not marginal, it is much more. Till the fag end of the poll campaign, the perception was there that the Congress was having an edge in the electoral battle after its victory in Himachal and more significantly in Karnataka in May this year. The outcome of December3 results showed that the wind has shifted in favour of the BJP and this reduces the Congress chances of a turnaround in 2024 Lok Sabha polls from the Hindi speaking states.

Let us look at the results of last Lok Sabha elections in these three states. Out of the total of 65 seats, in Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP got 61 seats as against 3 of the Congress. This result was in the year after the assembly elections of 2018 in which the Congress swept in all three states defeating the BJP. The Lok Sabha results of 2019 were explained by many by mentioning the Narendra Modi factor. Now on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, there is no Congress government in any of these three states. Leave Modi factor, just on state campaign poll plank basis, the Congress will find nothing new to offer to the electorate in these three states in the. coming four months before the polls.

The turnaround in the Hindi speaking states in 2024 polls is of crucial importance to the Congress Party for improving its Lok Sabha tally from the present 52 to over 120 which is the minimum for the leading opposition party to play a dominant role in the INDIA bloc for unseating BJP. In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress did perform well in these three states, despite its defeat in all the states in 2003 assembly polls. That was twenty years ago and there was no Narendra Modi as the PM. The Congress has to seriously introspect and see how the perception can be changed in the next few months.

The December 3 results signal a distinct South-North divide in the mood of the electorate. Generally, the past history shows that once the Congress is removed from power by a regional party, the grand old party never comes back to power on its own.. This has been the case with Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Jharkhand and even Bihar. In Telangana, that trend has been reversed and it may lead the Congress high command to have more ambitious goals in South Indian states, notably Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

The problem for the Congress party is that its scope for getting more seats to Lok Sabha is less from the southern states. The Party has to gain most from the Hindi speaking states as the performance was at the lowest ebb in these states in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Apart from MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the other Hindi speaking states are Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In Bihar and Jharkhand, the Congress is already a part of the coalition governments. The latest results will reduce the bargaining power of the Congress for more Lok Sabha seats from its allies in these coalition states.

As regards the allies in the INDIA bloc, the results have posed a danger as also some opportunity. The Congress was expecting a good win in the assembly elections and on that basis, was planning to attend the coming INDIA meeting with better bargaining power as regards seat sharing for the 2024 polls. That advantage will not be there any more. A humiliated and depressed Congress leadership will be attending the December 6 meeting of the INDIA bloc to discuss the strategy post assembly polls including the formula for seat sharing.

For the allies in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, the challenge from the BJP will be severe. It will especially reach its peak in Bihar where the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be focus of all BJP attacks. The BJP thinking that the caste census demand has been rejected by the electorate in the three states, will be campaigning hard on the basis of Narendra Modi’s guarantees in the coming months. Both JD(U) and RJD may review the situation. The Congress may have to be content with a small number of seats as against their earlier projections before the state polls.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will have a final say in seat sharing with the INDIA allies. In recent weeks, the UP Congress president Ajay Rai talked of contesting in all 80 seats. That was a result of the confidence that the Party would perform well in the assembly polls. Now, Akhilesh may dictate terms to the Congress, the other allies are sure to support him. Akhilesh is also worried that the BJP victory in the Hindi heartland is sure to energise the state BJP which is already in an advantageous position due to the coming inauguration of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya on January 22. In sum, the political template in the Hindi speaking states is not conducive to the INDIA bloc.

The parties which remain a bit unscathed from the assembly poll results are Trinamool Congress, the Left parties and the DMK. TMC led by Mamata Banerjee will certainly facing the resurgent BJP in the state politics but she has ensured that her organisation is well prepared for the Lok Sabha polls as against the tattered BJP. She always wanted the seat sharing talks to start in September but the Congress delayed it till the announcement of the results. Now when the seat sharing talks start, the TMC supremo will deal with a weakened Congress, if the Congress finally decides to ally with TMC.

As regards the two left parties, the CPI and the CPI(M), the CPI got a seat in Telangana as a result of alliance with the Congress. The CPI(M)’s alliance talks with the Congress broke down. The Party contested a few seats but got none. The CPI(M) lost its two seating seats in Rajasthan. This is a big loss for the party as the party has been able to build good base in Rajasthan through kisan movements. But the most challenging task of the CPI(M) will be in the Lok Sabha polls from Kerala. The CPI(M) has only one seat now out of the total of 20 seats. The Congress-led UDF has got other 19 seats. This is disproportionate to the respective strength of the two fronts LDF and the UDF. Both the CPI and the CPI(M) have a good opportunity to annexe seats from the UDF partners in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Left can increase its tally from the present five by only winning more seats from Kerala. The Congress feels that its acceptability in South has risen after the Karnataka and Telangana polls. The Party will try its utmost to retain its seats in Kerala.

The Congress and its allies in the INDIA bloc have to take a total view of the political challenges in the Lok Sabha elections. The allies have to remember that the Congress is the only party which is in a position to take on BJP at the national level. The weakening of the Congress does not serve the interests of the opposition. At the same time, the Congress has to see that the maximum strengths of the combined opposition can be utilized in the fight against the BJP. The INDIA bloc partners should take part in discussions on December 6 with this in mind. They should take into account that the Prime Minister is in an upbeat mood and he can announce national elections early soon after Ram Mandir inauguration on January 22. They should be ready with seat sharing arrangements and campaign programmes before that. (IPA Service)

The post For Congress And Its Allies, The Signals For 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Are Ominous first appeared on Latest India news, analysis and reports on IPA Newspack.

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