Let not ‘INDIA’ be weak, nor India that is Bharattext_fields
The Congress's defeat in four of the five state assembly elections held in 2023, except for Telangana, was a natural setback for the party that not only created a sense of sadness within the party but also made a dent in its prominence in the opposition ‘INDIA’ alliance. Additionally, the ‘INDIA’ alliance's leadership meeting scheduled for Wednesday was reduced to a gathering of parliamentary party leaders. There was also internal murmur among the allies of INDIA about the party's decision to contest the elections alone without taking along partners. The absence of several prominent leaders at the Wednesday meeting, including Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, and Nitish Kumar, was not a good sign. However, reports say that the leadership meeting held on Wednesday created an atmosphere to move forward together and hold the next meeting in a constructive manner, including discussions about seat allocations.
The ‘INDIA’ alliance in fact does not have reasons to feel disheartened and turn away. Pol pundits point out that Congress has not suffered a major setback in terms of votes polled. Except in Madhya Pradesh, the votes that the BJP garnered higher than previous polls, were mostly from small and regional parties. The Lok Sabha constituency equations as sum of assembly constituencies are different from that of individual assembly seats. The formation of public opinion in state elections is not the same as in Lok Sabha elections. In 2018, the BJP had lost the elections in these three states, but it won an impressive victory in the 2019 general election. It is also history that the Congress tasted defeat in these three states in 2003 but went on to win the Lok Sabha elections in 2004. The main shortfalls that Congress faces now are not insurmountable. The crucial factor is that the Congress did not take care to contest as part of INDIA alliance. This gap needs to be, and can be patched up with the Congress and the main alliance parties displaying an accommodating approach, along with taking other parties into confidence and campaigning in a coordinated manner. The BJP and Narendra Modi, who use rhetoric, often employ the method of waging psychological warfare by hiding the real issues and listing only the favourable factors, has to be faced on the right platform with the right strategy. If the 'India' front can convince the people of the BJP's divisive agenda and the reality of economic growth that benefits only the rich and put forward an alternative, then the 'India' front can face the Lok Sabha elections with confidence.
The Congress, SP, Trinamool Congress, RJD, JD(U), and Communist parties, which in form and essence are bound to stand on the opposite side of the BJP's fascist and divisive Hindutva agenda, should avoid the mistake of countering the BJP with soft Hindutva and focusing solely on the dissemination of fundamental messages and putting behind the procedural and minor issues. To be noted is the unmistakable fact that in all recent elections, the BJP easily tried to capitalise on the Hindutva agenda in the state elections. Alongside good governance, development, and welfare schemes, the constant background music of the BJP was the unification of Hindu votes. Even the opposition campaign on caste census was met with diversionary tactics. An example is Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving new definitions to caste, that for him the permanent castes encompass the poor, youth, farmers, and women, a specious argument about conditions that are transient.
In the name of nationalism, the BJP employs Hindu symbols, names, gods, and beliefs. The Modi-Amit Shah duo uses the tactic of alienating minority groups by labelling everything else as foreign in elections. They highlight the construction of the Ram temple, the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and the prohibition of triple talaq as their administrative achievements - all targeting Hindu mobilisation. The opposition must expose the danger of this method of dividing the people. The 'India' agenda should start with the realization that if more than 200 million Muslims are alienated, that will not necessarily leave the other sections of the country unaffected and it will lead to the loss of the country's peace and security. Only by weakening the Hindutva narrative will there be a negation of space for unrest and anxiety. Simultaneously, it must be a campaign issue that beyond the rhetoric of GDP growth without social justice, a nation without amity is unsafe. The emphasis of the ‘INDIA’ alliance should be to understand and convey this. Otherwise, both ‘INDIA’ and India will be weak. Patriots should not let that happen.