By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2023-12-05 06:35:58
The electoral reverses in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have put the Congress on the back foot vis-a-vis its wish to be the undisputed leader of the I.N.D.I.A bloc. The way the party spurned efforts of individual parties within the alliance to come to an understanding with it regarding seat sharing in the three states has boomeranged on it and has given a handle to the said other parties to criticize it. Although TMC was not in contention in these three states, it has warned that the zamindari attitude of the Congress will be the undoing of the I.N.D.I.A alliance. Mamata Banerjee said that the results in the three states were not victory for the BJP but loss for the Congress as it refused to come to an understanding with the alliance partners.
The Congress had ignored pleas for seat sharing from various parties, including the Samajvadi Party and AAP in the run up to these elections. It was confident that given the welfare push in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it would buck anti-incumbency in those states and would beat the BJP in Madhya Pradesh by turning the anti-incumbency against the ruling BJP in its favour. It ignored its dismal record in one-to-one fights with the BJP and the very basis for which the opposition alliance has been stitched together - that of preventing division of opposition votes - and tried to win the elections on its own. It came a cropper.
Given Congress's intransigence, it seems that the I.N.D.I.A alliance is doomed to failure. The state elections were a good starting point to test the waters for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Mutual understanding over seat sharing in these three states, even if on a small scale, would have given the opposition a peek into how they could breach the BJP fortress in 2024. But by having an ugly spat with the Samajvadi Party in Madhya Pradesh and others elsewhere, the party damaged the prospects of seat sharing in 2024.