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Rajat Sharma’s Blog: Anti-Modi alliance at the crossroads

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Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV.

The effects of defeat in the elections of three Hindi speaking states are beginning to be seen on the opposition parties. The leaders of India Alliance who used to claim to defeat Modi together, started raising questions on India Alliance itself. It was clearly told to the Congress that now Congress’s zamindari will not work, if Congress wants an alliance, then all the small parties will have to take the regional parties along and will have to respect everyone. In fact, as soon as the results of four states became clear on Sunday, Congress suffered a crushing defeat in three states, then Congress leaders thought of India Alliance. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge wrote on Twitter that the party is not dejected by this defeat, will find the reasons for the defeat, will correct the mistakes and will start preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, all the opposition parties will fight together. There will be a meeting of leaders of India Alliance on 6 December. On Monday, Congress leaders tried to talk to the leaders of all the parties involved in the alliance. Invited to come to Delhi on December 6 but Mamata Banerjee refused to come to the meeting. Mamta said that she has no prior information about this meeting, her programs are already fixed, she will be in North Bengal from 6 to 12 December, hence it is not possible to attend the Alliance meeting. Now it has been decided that there will be a meeting of key MPs of the parties included in the India Alliance on 6th December, and in the third week of December there will be a meeting of the presidents of all the opposition parties.

After the defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the opposition parties are at a loss. What is going to happen in 24, with whom the public is going to side, on which pitch the battle will be fought, the results of three states have made it very clear. Even after the defeat, Congress is trying to find some positive things. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh described the defeat as disappointing but did not fail to say that there is not much difference in the vote share of BJP and Congress, this difference can be eliminated. In fact, through these figures, Congress is trying to instill hope among its workers before 2024. While on one hand the morale of BJP leaders and workers is high after the unilateral victory in three states, on the other hand, for Congress, such results of the semi-finals of 2024 force one to think about a lot. In such a situation, the biggest challenge before the Congress is to maintain the unity of the opposition alliance. When Mamata Banerjee refused to come to the meeting, Jairam Ramesh from Congress gave clarification and said that the meeting of 6th December is informal. There will be such meetings of the Alliance in future also, Mamata Banerjee will also attend them.

But the matter did not end there. All the leaders of Mamata’s party advised Congress to learn a lesson from the results. Mamata’s nephew and Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said that Congress does not know how to take everyone along, if it has to take everyone along, then Congress will have to give up its ego. His party leader Kunal Ghosh directly said that now the leadership of the opposition should go to TMC instead of Congress, only then the boat will sail through in 2024, otherwise Congress will drown everyone in its arrogance. All the leaders of India Alliance who spoke gave the example of Madhya Pradesh. Said that if Congress had given a few seats to Samajwadi Party, the results would not have been like this. Akhilesh Yadav also said that Congress has seen the results of arrogance, now if it has to come together, then all the parties will have to be respected. Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut cursed Congress a little more openly. Sanjay Raut said that landlordism has ended in the country but there are some leaders of Congress, who still consider themselves landlords, it is such leaders who have defeated Congress. The most scathing attack on Congress in this matter was made by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. Abdullah said that Congress leaders were flying in the air, now they have come to the ground, after three months they have thought of the alliance. Omar Abdullah said that at this time he cannot say what will be the fate of the alliance of opposition parties, whether it will be formed or not.

Sachin Pilot did not seem to agree with this statement of Omar Abdullah. Sachin Pilot said that Congress definitely made some mistakes, that is why the party lost, now the reasons for the defeat will be analyzed and in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress will contest the elections with a better strategy. Although no one is speaking openly, but all the opposition leaders are raising questions on the leadership of Congress in hushed tones and want that their party leader should be made the face of the opposition alliance. JDU also staked its claim on the leadership of the opposition alliance. Vijay Chaudhary, a leader and minister very close to Nitish, said that in 2024, the leadership of the opposition alliance should be in the hands of a leader who is successful and has been tested by the public. However, there are some Congress leaders who, despite the defeat in four states, are not ready to accept that the Congress is on the back foot or that its bargaining power has reduced. Congress MP Manickam Tagore said that his party has got more votes than BJP. In such a situation, except states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and UP, elections in other states will be fought under the leadership of Congress.

One effect of the crushing defeat in three states is that Congress’s dominance in the alliance of opposition parties has ended. Leaders of most of the opposition parties are saying that Congress cannot defeat BJP. Rahul Gandhi has proved to be a failure in taking on Modi. The balloon that Congress had inflated by winning Karnataka deflated on Sunday. Some are calling Congress arrogant, while others are calling it incompetent. A leader of Trinamool Congress clearly said that only Mamata Banerjee can lead the alliance of opposition parties. On the other hand, Digvijay Singh is counting that Congress won in the postal ballot, but lost in the EVM and does not bother to tell that in the postal ballot only a few votes of the government employees on election duty are counted. Jairam Ramesh is busy counting the percentage to show that Congress still has strength left. There is no doubt that Congress is still a party which has its supporters all over the country, but from the point of view of electoral politics, apart from Himachal Pradesh which has four Lok Sabha seats, Congress is limited to two southern states, Karnataka and Telangana. The party is weak in big states like UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. Therefore, if leaders of regional parties start claiming the leadership of the alliance, what will be the reply of Congress? If Lalu again starts talking about making Nitish Kumar the coordinator, what will Rahul Gandhi answer? Lalu’s work will be done only when Nitish comes out of Bihar. But now the problem is that Nitish Kumar has not come out of his house for the last 10 days.

Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not been seen in public for the last ten days. Therefore now speculations are being made regarding his health. Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi wrote on Twitter that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is unwell for the last 10 days, has something happened to him or is there just a political conspiracy going on with him? Jitan Ram Manjhi said that Nitish Kumar’s health bulletin should be released so that people know about his health. After Manjhi, Union Minister Giriraj Singh also wrote on Twitter that Manjhi’s concern is justified, hence Nitish Kumar’s health bulletin should be released. JDU leaders felt very bad about these words of Manjhi and Giriraj Singh. JDU spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said that politics regarding anyone’s health is not right. If they release the health bulletin of Manjhi and his family, then Manjhi will be in a lot of trouble. Bihar Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh said that Giriraj Singh should worry about himself, as far as Nitish Kumar is concerned, his health is absolutely fine, nothing happened to him. Chirag Paswan, another opponent of Nitish, said that if Nitish Kumar is not well then he should get good treatment but if he is not coming to office just like that, then this is not right. About Nitish Kumar, his own colleagues say that these days he often forgets names and faces. Sometimes we don’t even recognize our ministers. The day Nitish Kumar taught sex lessons in the Legislative Assembly, his party leader told me to please ignore these things, Nitish Kumar’s mental health is not good. I pray to God that all these things are proved wrong. It does not feel good at all to hear such things about the leader who holds the responsibility of Chief Minister, but the politics of Bihar these days is such that if Nitish does not come forward, then all kinds of things will happen. Therefore, it would be good if everyone is formally informed about Nitish ji’s health. (Rajat Sharma)

Watch: ‘Aaj Ki Baat with Rajat Sharma’ full episode of December 04, 2023

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