Leaders of 26 opposition parties came together in Bengaluru on Tuesday to announce the formation of a new anti-BJP alliance named the India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The alliance aims to present a united front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition. During the announcement, they declared that the 2024 elections would be a “fight between INDIA and Modi… an INDIA Vs NDA contest.”
The alliance name, INDIA, was proposed by Mamata Banerjee, the leader of Trinamool Congress. After Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge officially announced the alliance at a joint press conference, Banerjee boldly challenged the BJP and NDA, stating, “NDA, BJP, can you challenge INDIA? Catch us if you can.”
The next step for the alliance leaders is to engage in seat-sharing talks and build structures for effective collaboration. A coordination committee will be formed, with one or more coordinators, to facilitate the alliance’s functioning. Leaders have recognized the need for pragmatic negotiations and are leaning towards states-wise alliances rather than a nationwide seat-sharing pact. While existing alliances in certain states may streamline the process, challenges may arise in states where some of these parties have rivalries.
A total of 11 states, including West Bengal, are currently ruled by parties represented in the INDIA alliance. The leaders believe that presenting a collective vision for the nation is more important than formulating a common minimum program (CMP). They aim to develop an alternative vision that will be shared with the public before the elections, focusing on governance and the collective leadership of the alliance.
To showcase their unity, the leaders will establish a secretariat to plan joint rallies and coordinate regular shared stages. A joint visit to Manipur is already being planned as part of their collective efforts.
During the internal meeting, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar displayed his determination to stand firm against the BJP, despite recent defections within his party in Maharashtra. Pawar highlighted how the defection of Praful Patel to the BJP was influenced by pressure from investigative agencies. He reassured the attendees that only those MLAs facing probes by agencies had defected and that the party’s support base remained intact. Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, proposed that the next INDIA meeting should take place in Mumbai, a suggestion that was accepted by all participants.
The INDIA alliance has identified various key areas of collective resolve. This includes safeguarding the constitutional rights of democratically elected state governments, addressing the economic crisis, opposing the sale of national assets to privileged individuals, combating hate crimes and violence against minorities, and fighting against the targeted persecution of fellow citizens. The alliance aims to counter the polarizing tactics employed by the BJP and create a united front against these challenges.
The formation of the INDIA alliance marks a significant development in Indian politics, as opposition parties come together to present a formidable force against the ruling BJP. As the Lok Sabha elections approach, the alliance’s strategies and campaigns will shape the political landscape and provide voters with an alternative vision for the future of the country.