Flouting of Mitra Dharm by Cong will be INDI bloc bane

Flouting of Mitra Dharm by Cong will be INDI bloc bane

The latest twist in the INDI bloc politics is the ‘U’ turn by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Rahul Gandhi’s aversion to elevate Kumar as INDI bloc convener and denial of seats to allies in Madhya Pradesh had resulted in alienation of Congress. Despite angry reactions from AAP and Samajwadi Party, Congress is adamant about its one-upmanship politics. ‘Kuch Bhihojaye Kya farak Padta hai?’ appears to be its stance. It is rather unfortunate that this attitude of Congress threatens to derail efforts to put up a strong opposition, a key imperative for a vibrant democracy in the country

Is INDIAbloc going to become INDI zero? We don’t know what advantage the Congress will derive from the BharatNyayJodo Yatra but indications are that the 28 allies bloc is disintegrating. I am sure this comment is going to invite a lot of criticism from many as it did when I said that Congress had failed to feel the pulse of people as they refused to participate in the consecration ceremony of Lord Rama at Ayodhya.

But as a common man, one should not get swayed by political affiliations or myopic view. One needs to assess ground realities. We have seen how West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC president Mamata Banerjee got miffed with the attitude of the Congress and refused to share seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. We have also seen how AAP in Punjab has expressed its displeasure over Congress’ big brother attitude and declined to allot any seats to it.

The latest twist in the INDI bloc politics is the ‘U’ turn by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. When the opposition was only talking of pulling down the Modi-led BJP government without any semblance of coming together, it was Nitish who took the lead, hosted the first meeting of opposition parties in Patna. At that point of time, the Congress was not part of this bloc. Infact, it had to struggle to become a part of the 28 party conglomeration. Continued efforts of Nitish and the victory of Congress in Karnataka paved the way for this wavering bloc to admit Congress and since then the sad state of alliance had begun and alliance ‘Todo’ had started. It refused to share seats in the Madhya Pradesh elections with its INDI partners,drawing sharp and angry reactions from AAP and Samajwadi Party.

It was widely believed that Nitish would eventually be the coalition’s convenor and PM face during the 2024 general elections. But the issue could not be resolved even after several conclaves and meetings of the group. The name of Nitish was proposed as the convenor by CPM leader Sitaram Yechuri and was endorsed by all leaders like Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav etc. But Rahul Gandhi threw a spanner when he said the decision would have to wait as Trinamool Congress was not present at the meeting. He did not budge even when others said that since Mamata Didi skipped the meeting, there was no need for her consent as a majority of those present at the meeting endorsed the proposal. What is to be noted here is that neither AICC president MallkarjunKharge nor Sonia Gandhi overruled Rahul. Finally, the Congress came up with the name of Kharge as the convenor.

This made Nitish do a rethink as he felt humiliated by Rahul when he opposed his name citing reservations. Nitish Kumar came to the conclusion that as long as Rahul Gandhi is taking all the important calls, the opposition can neither be unitednor can it put up a respectable fight against the BJP. It may be recalled that in the last Lok Sabha elections, too,a similar effort was made by TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and again it was because of Rahul, things did not move forward.

Against this backdrop, Nitish felt it was not possible to unite the opposition parties and the objective of ‘Modi Hatao’ cannot be achieved as each one continues to pull in different directions. “If you can’t beat him, join him”, is what Nitish felt which finally led to his decision to return back to the NDA alliance.

“KuchBhihojayeKya farakPadtahai? We will continue to tread our own path as we like. We are happy going around the country claiming to be uniting the country what if the alliance breaks,” seems to be the attitude of the oldest party. They refuse to understand that they are standing on shifting sands. The party lives in a world of its own and feels that the Jodo is a great success without realising that the glue to unite or bond the people was missing.They allege that the BJP is dividing people in the name of religion. What are they doing? Are they not distancing the majority section of the people with their acts of not respecting the sentiments of the Hindus? Is it Jodo or Todo?

When Rahul Gandhi took up the first Bharat Jodo Yatra, it lost three states Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. With the second phase of yatra, they appear to be losing the chance of coming to power at centre.

The ensuing Lok Sabha elections certainly is going to be a litmus test for the grand old party which keeps committing mistake after mistake. It has demonstrated that it cannot change with times and adopt new strategies and understand the ground realities. It is continuing with its century old policy and seems to be destined to be in the opposition for next five years. If it can retain its present strength it certainly would be a great achievement.

Not just Nitish, the big brotherly attitude of Congress has made two other opposition parties unhappy; Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have almost ended their ties with the INDIA bloc and in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the constituents of the alliance are fighting among themselves.

The BJP which saw a great opportunity in the disintegration of opposition started extending an olive branch to the Bihar government and took a stand that in politics doors are never closed and shook hands with Nitish Kumar to revive the ties. It may be mentioned here that Kumar had snapped ties with BJP in 2022.If the two parties join hands againtheir alliance can ensure that the NDA will sweep the Lok Sabha polls. It won 39 of Bihar’s 40 seats in the 2019 elections.

But then the RJD which has now become its main rival claims that it is a sort of good riddance for them as the credibility of Nitish is diminishing and his return to BJP fold will help them come to power. They recall how JD(U) and RJD alliance gave a tough fight to BJP in the 2020 Assembly elections.

The BJP seems to be making swift moves and trying to convert all situations to its advantage in the run-up to the 2024 elections. All these moves give an advantage to the saffron party and the Congress would not be able to say that NDA got disintegrated. Congress would continue to say that photos of Lord cannot fill hungry stomachs and will commit political hara-kiri.

This certainly is not a happy situation. It is rather unfortunate that the opposition is losing, or shall we say lost a golden opportunity to give a united fight to at least emerge as a strong vibrant opposition which is the need of the day, particularly in India which is considered to be the mother of democracy. BJP may feel that it has succeeded in keeping opposition at bay but then the country would be losing a chance to have proper checks and balances.

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