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How INDIA bloc’s power dynamics is likely to shift after Congress’s loss

With the Assembly poll results 2023 in three states being a disappointment for the Congress, some rumblings have begun among the constituents of the INDIA opposition bloc ahead of their meeting on December 6, with many leaders alleging that the grand old party ignored others, but was unable to win elections on its own.

Some regional parties, including the TMC, AAP, and SP had earlier expressed eagerness for early seat-sharing talks, but the Congress delayed discussions until after assembly polls.

Sources close to PTI cited, the Congress deliberately postponed negotiations to increase its bargaining position, anticipating a favorable outcome in the elections.

“During the CWC meeting in Hyderabad, some leaders advocated for avoiding early seat-sharing talks with regional parties, suggesting that the Congress should not go in for early seat-sharing talks with regional parties and that it should hold discussions from a position of strength after the party fares well in assembly elections in five states,” the sources said.

The attitude became more apparent during talks between the SP and Congress on seat sharing for the Madhya Pradesh polls had failed.

Will the power-sharing dynamic change within the INDIA bloc after Congress’s disastrous loss in the Assembly Election 2023?

As the results pushed the Congress further back, leaving it in power in only three states on its own — Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana — some opposition parties are questioning whether the grand old party is the weakest link within the alliance.

JDU, Nitish Kumar’s party that initially proposed the idea of an alliance party, took a jibe at the Congress saying it was clear that the party couldn’t win the elections alone. JDU leader KC Tyagi said, “It is very necessary now for everyone to strengthen the INDIA bloc. If the alliance meeting was called a couple of months earlier, it would have been good,” he said.

A senior leader from the Trinamool Congress told Hindustan Times, “The Congress should leave it to regional parties to take the lead against the BJP. While parties such as the Trinamool Congress, DMK, AAP, JD(U) and RJD had been repeatedly successful in thwarting the BJP’s electoral advances, the Congress has failed to do so.”

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said INDIA alliance would not be able to win the 2024 general elections “if the situation is like this in the future”.

Further questioning about Congress’s attitude towards SP during seat-sharing talks in Madhya Pradesh, he said, “What harm could have happened if they had given 5-7 seats to Akhilesh Yadav. What storm could have blown? What have they won now? The results are in front of everyone now.”

Meanwhile, an AAP leader pointed out that it is now the largest opposition party in north India, and not Congress.

“After today’s results, Aam Aadmi Party emerges as the largest opposition party in north India with 2 state governments — Punjab and Delhi,” Jasmine Shah said in a post on X.

What next from INDIA alliance?

Leaders of opposition parties have already urged Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to move forward in bringing everyone together to strengthen the INDIA bloc to defeat the BJP while putting aside differences.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said, “I do not think it will have any impact on the INDIA bloc. We will speak to those who are aware of the ground reality. We will be able to comment on it only after the meeting.”

All the parties will meet at Kharge’s residence in Delhi on December 6 to chalk out a strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

“Talks on seat-sharing between regional outfits would also gain momentum now,” sources said.

They told PTI the opposition leaders would now plan joint rallies that were put on hold due to the assembly elections. One such rally planned in the first week of October in Bhopal was canceled at the last moment.

(With inputs from agencies and Hindustan Times)

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