INDIA alliance is only 70 days old as on August 31, 2023, the first day of its third Conclave to be held in Mumbai. Detractors derive pleasure in calling it the third hurdle, while forgetting the story of the rise and fall of their beloved NDA which is over 25 years old, became redundant in the last 9 years, which BJP is struggling to refurbish now after heightened threat perception from the very birth of INDIA alliance.
The ruling establishment led by BJP under PM Narendra Modi, has clearly reckoned INDIA alliance a major political force, which is reflected in his public speeches, especially when he labels them as a pack of corrupts and dynasts, and vows to act against them. Had they no power to influence the electorate, PM Modi or BJP would not have opposed them so vociferously.
The opposition INDIA alliance, however, has very challenging tasks ahead, some of which are on the agenda of the third Conclave being held today August 31 and tomorrow September 1. However, they need much more precision in their strategy and clarity in their ideological position to take on PM Modi led ruling establishment in the country. The tasks in hand are challenging, and the success in achieving the tasks would shape the fate of the INDIA alliance.
The development so far included the task of building a political narrative that democracy in India is under serious threat. PM Modi led government has been all out to destroy the opposition political parties and leaders that refuse to fall in line, by spreading disinformation regarding their integrity, implicating in false cases, and large-scale vilification campaigns against them, all sponsored by RSS-BJP clan and by misusing the Central investigating agencies like CBI, ED, and the Department of Income Tax.
INDIA alliance has clearly succeeded in its efforts to bring all the ruling opposition parties on board, barring the three – BJD of Odisha, BRS of Telangana, and YSRCP of Andhra Pradesh, who are presently maintaining equidistance form both the national level alliances – NDA and INDIA. The INDIA alliance has been successful in uniting 26 political parties in opposition and many more have expressed their willingness to joint them. However, the immediate task before them is to increase the cohesiveness of the participating political parties to offer a strong unified opposition to defeat PM Modi led BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. This will involve resolving the current differences between the constituent parties ensuring that they are all committed to the alliance’s goals. The differences are chiefly due to regional aspirations and up to much extent due to varied ideological and policy stance.
Addressing regional political concerns is therefore the second most important task in hand, that have been responsible for making them initially reluctant to join the INDIA alliance. It involves greater political maturity among the political parties that already have adopted accommodative stance at the central leadership levels. However, occasional eruptions of discordant statements among the second or third layers of leaderships within parties have been seen recently given rise to inter and intra party rivalry in a bitter way as in the case of AAP and Congress. It means, INDIA alliance is still lacking proper inner and intra party coordination.
All these necessitate a task of building a strong organizational structure, first to effectively coordinate between the parties, and secondly to effectively conduct the political activities of the INDIA alliance as against the NDA. To take care of the regional aspirations of the participating political parties, other regional level committees may also be required. It may also require setting up a common secretariat, appointing subcommittees, and developing a clear chain of command, vertically and horizontally.
Clarifying ideological and policy stance is going to be the most important task to keep the participating political parties united as well as to provide a clear alternative to the ruling establishment under RSS-BJP clan leader PM Modi who has been in power for the last 9 years on the strength of majoritarian Hindutva politics. Ideology of INDIA alliance must be spelt clearly for which it is going to stand in the months and years to come to reestablished the cherished dreams as envisaged in the Constitution of India, that the RSS-BJP clan has been trying to miscarriage to form a Hindu Rashtra.
Having declared its ideology, INDIA alliance would need to expose the pitfalls of the majoritarian Hindutva politics in which the country has already fallen. How the entire country has been put under communal fire that burnt private and public properties worth billions with hundreds of lives lost, the most lamentably of innocent children, women, old persons, sicks, poor and destitute, and physically or mentally challenged. How Democracy, both in word and spirit, has turned into majoritarianism, federalism is subjugated under centralization of power, hatred is ruling the roost, and constitutional bodies and other institutions are misused to establish an authoritarian regime. And how the common people are subjected under unprecedented economic hardship while the fruits of growth and development chiefly cornered by crony capitalists, ie friend and favourites of the ruling dispensation.
The task of keeping the participating political parties will involve a clear and common minimum programme, apart from a clear ideological stance. INDIA alliance’s priority areas should be clearly spelled in respect of various economic development programmes and social welfare policies.
The task of reaching out to the India electorate would be the last but not the least priority with clear ideology and policy stance. It would need devising public outreach programmes, running media campaigns, fielding right joint candidates, and making use of available resources with them in best possible way. Given the financial muscle power of the BJP, raising enough funds for political activities of the INDIA alliance would be crucial.
Tasks in hand are difficult to accomplish and therefore challenging. The first two INDIA conclaves in Patna and Bengaluru had undoubtedly provided the foundation on which the Mumbai conclave will begin the real work. (IPA Service)