I-N-D-I-A Alliance – If you can’t convince them, confuse them!

While Congress managed to capture the Karnataka elections, it still cannot single-handedly challenge the all-India presence of the BJP. So I-N-D-I-A seems like last the effort!
I-N-D-I-A Alliance – If you can’t convince them, confuse them!

The sole purpose of the new I-N-D-I-A alliance comprising of 26 opposition parties is to defeat PM Modi. Well, the thumping victory of NDA in the 2014 and 2019 elections have clearly trespassed the popularity of India’s oldest political party, Congress. The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance is yet another desperate attempt of the Congress to win back its long-lost golden era, after the Bharat Jodo Yatra. While Congress managed to capture the Karnataka elections, it still cannot single-handedly challenge the all-India presence of the Bhartiya Janata Party. That can precisely be the reason why the INC decided to join hands with other political parties even if they are of entirely opposing ideologies. To put the popularity back on track, the 26 parties decided to appeal emotionally to the Indian population and hence, decided on the name I-N-D-I-A.

But, is the opposition alliance as united as the name ‘INDIA’ suggests? Even in terms of vote share, will I-N-D-I-A be able to make a dent on BJP’s large-scale majority that it holds in the Lok Sabha? Let’s decode the issues within.

The lack of ideological Unity within I-N-D-I-A

While the Congress is fighting left parties in Kerala and trying hard to replace the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, Mamata Banerjee-led TMC cannot afford to lose out on West Bengal. To effectively challenge the NDA, I-N-D-I-A leaders need to keep aside their personal political ambitions and come together as a united front. If you have a look at the internal contradictions, you will find that most of the factions are a breakaway from the Congress. The question arises that if a political party has been able to establish its presence even in a single state, why would it compromise its popularity under the banner of the Indian National Congress?

Lack of a strong PM face!

While the I-N-D-I-A has many big political faces including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal etc., no one can come close to directly facing Prime Minister Modi at the centre.  The opposition alliance knows this and maybe that’s why it seems like a last effort for the Congress party to revive itself. Currently, I-N-D-I-A is just a crowd, a faceless, leaderless crowd.

BJP’s Strategic Issues

From the time BJP-led NDA has come into power, it has picked up issues of India like building an affordable and universal healthcare system; implement a new policy on education, and increasing space budget, among others. However, when it comes to the I-N-D-I-A alliance, it is only projecting itself as a ‘defeat-Modi campaign’, with no such core issue at hand. Yes Indians may want a change of leader, but more importantly, they want issues to be resolved. In fact, the recent Bharat Jodo Yatra by Rahul Gandhi may have managed to tweak Mr Gandhi’s image, but it has not given reasons why India should vote Congress to power.

The Vote Share

Well in a country of 1.4 billion people, elections are a game of numbers. If an analysis of vote share in the Lok Sabha based on the 2019 verdict had to be done, I-N-D-I-A alliance together commands 171 seats compared to the huge 303 number of NDA. Hence, the current alliance partners have 37.2% votes while NDA has 42.3%. For pulling NDA voters to its bank, I-N-D-I-A alliance needs to really up its game, since the current Modi wave is hard to beat!

The Congress Family

Most of the political parties look away from coming into an alliance with the INC due to the Parivarvaad system. Even though the Congress elected its first-ever non-Congress President, but it took them 2 defeats to realize that Indians have had too much of their family system. Sonia Gandhi’s presence during key meetings in Patna and Bengaluru indicates that I-N-D-I-A alliance is led by Congress.

Can a political alliance work for India?

In India, people don’t vote for the party, they vote for the leader; that’s precisely where I-N-D-I-A falls hard on the ground due to lack of strong face. The history of Indian politics has shown that coalition government is not very successful and here we are talking about parties with strikingly different ideologies. The BJP-led NDA has always projected itself as a right winger, either you like them or not, but for I-N-D-I-A – If you can’t convince them, confuse them! (Harry S. Truman)