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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

War within: Editorial on the formidable fault lines in the INDIA bloc

Modern electoral contests are fought not only on the ground but also in the mind. INDIA, since its inception, has been trailing the Bharatiya Janata Party in the battle of perception

The Editorial Board Published 17.01.24, 06:13 AM
Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge File Photo

Consensus is, more often than not, being eclipsed by conflict in the coalition stitched together by the Opposition. The latest chapter of this unfolding tragicomedy was brought to light on the occasion of Mallikarjun Kharge’s anointment as the chairperson of INDIA. In a rare instance of amity, Mr Kharge’s choice — a politically sound decision — was unanimous. But soon enough, disunity reared its head. The Janata Dal (United) expressed its unhappiness over the delay in Nitish Kumar’s appointment as the convenor: apparently, the Congress was awaiting Mamata Banerjee’s nod on the matter. Ultimately, Mr Kumar decided not to accept the post. The resultant rancour from this latest episode along with Mr Kumar’s persistent frustration with the alliance’s sloth-like pace to resolve crucial differences is likely to deepen the fault lines within the bloc. And the fault lines are formidable. Seat-sharing arrangements in states where the allies are regional competitors have the potential to ignite implosions. Ms Banerjee, for instance, is not interested in forging a bond with the Left and the Congress in Bengal; Kerala, where the Left and the Congress are traditional foes, poses another minefield; the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party may be on smooth waters in Delhi but they are likely to encounter steeper currents in Punjab. Contests over overlapping political turfs along with competing personal ambitions remain the perennial spectres. Time, too, is not exactly in abundance for INDIA to set its house in order. Mr Kumar’s experience and stature could have helped smoothen some of the ruffled feathers. It remains to be seen whether he would be willing to do so after the perceived slight.

Modern electoral contests are fought not only on the ground but also in the mind. INDIA, since its inception, has been trailing the Bharatiya Janata Party in the battle of perception. The fissures that beleaguer the alliance periodically and the contradictory voices — the lack of a cohesive response to the Ram temple inauguration being a case in point — are bound to give the BJP the ammunition to cement the claim that the coalition is a rag-tag, opportunistic force. Rahul Gandhi is on the road, yet again, demanding justice for citizens. That there are cries of injustice from within the Opposition alliance against the Congress is an irony that will not elude India’s voters.

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