AA Edit | Congress finds its feet, at last INDIA shows mojo

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

From Setbacks to Resurgence: Congress-Led INDIA Alliance Gains Traction with Key Partnerships

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, in Kanpur, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (PTI Photo)

A job well-begun is half-done. What is often a cliché can prove to be profound at other times. The Congress-led INDIA alliance, which since its early inception and grand posturing was facing nothing but infighting, indecision, attrition and loss of its key leaders, has suddenly, in less than a week, found its feet from what seemed almost like a point of no return.

In the last several months, the political mood, almost ubiquitously and across states, was that the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was nearly invincible. A huge victory for the NDA was a foregone conclusion.

During the same time, the Congress could not, despite the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, find any surge of public acceptance as a challenge to the Modi-led BJP. The developments — from the yet another flip-flop of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to Ashok Chavan’s exit from the party in Maharashtra or even the ED pressure on Delhi CM and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal — seemed to suggest that the BJP had taken care of every segment of a potential Opposition.

On its part, the Congress, too, could not find any support, except for the safe bastion of Tamil Nadu, where the M.K. Stalin-led DMK was firmly with the Congress and Kerala, where, despite strong differences, the Left has been a reliable ally. But its southern tip domination in the 60 seats of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala aside, INDIA was unable to make any impression at the national level.

However, the Congress has perhaps now rediscovered the age-old formula for finalising alliances — mutual respect, regard for ground reality and acceptance of local strength or weakness, and a desire to make minor sacrifices for the sake of achieving the larger goal.

First, it was Uttar Pradesh, where the fate of India is often sealed and the BJP is riding high after the Ayodhya inaugural of the Ram Temple. The Samajwadi Party and Congress have come to an agreement here with the latter getting 16 out of 80 seats. While its electoral impact is unclear, it was needed for the Congress to show it could build alliances.

The Congress has also struck a deal with the Aam Aadmi Party, which has given new strength to both parties, especially in Delhi and Haryana. This is crucial as much for optics and narrative as for electoral impact.

These developments, coming amidst early but unconfirmed reports that it has also finalised a deal with the ruling Trinamul Congress Party in West Bengal, gives hopes of a pan-India alliance of the principal Opposition to the BJP. At least, talks are on between these two parties and that in itself seemed unlikely not too long ago.

Whatever will be the final result in the Lok Sabha, a formidable Opposition is crucial for democracy itself. And that much, the Congress seems to be delivering to the nation against all odds.

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