Data indicates Opposition front set to knock out NDA in 2024 polls

Faced with a straight contest with a joint Opposition front, the NDA will suffer huge losses in the crucial Hindi heartland states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 General Election

Congress president Sonia Gandhi participates in an Opposition protest against Modi govt at Parliament House in November, 2019
Congress president Sonia Gandhi participates in an Opposition protest against Modi govt at Parliament House in November, 2019

Arun Srivastava

A meeting expected to take place over the next couple of days in Delhi between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, who will be accompanied by RJD supremo Lalu Yadav, is being seen as politically significant in terms of the ongoing efforts to forge a united Opposition front to oust the NDA from power in the 2024 General Election.

All the major Opposition parties are clearly eager to join hands with the Congress to achieve that objective.

Nitish Kumar has already met Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and other Opposition leaders during his last visit to Delhi. On his way back to Patna, he had indicated that a meeting with the Congress president was in the offing once she had returned to Delhi from her visit abroad.

Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav, the incumbent Bihar deputy CM, has already declared that the Congress, the only pan-India Opposition party, will play a crucial role in the formation of such a front and for it to succeed in removing the right-wing forces from power.

His party is set to bring together all the forces and groups opposed to the BJP on a single platform in the Hindi heartland. He is reportedly in touch with Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav to that extent.

The upbeat mood in the Opposition circles of late was clearly evident from a banner that was on display at the Samajwadi Party’s headquarters in Lucknow, which bore the slogan “UP + Bihar = Gayi Modi Sarkar”, suggesting that a united Opposition front was all set to unseat the Modi government.

A united Opposition front fielding common candidates against the BJP and its allies in the next Lok Sabha polls will make it a tough proposition for the latter to retain their existing tally of seats in the crucial Hindi heartland states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

There are 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. In the last Lok Sabha election, held in 2019, the BJP had won 17 seats, the JD(U) 16, LJP 6, and INC 1. In UP, the BJP had won 62 seats, BSP 10, SP 5, ADS 2, and INC 1.

If the prevailing mood of the people is any indicator, it can safely be predicted that barring two seats, the Mahagathbandhan led by Nitish Kumar will sweep the Lok Sabha election due to be held in about eighteen months from now.

In UP too, the BJP is staring at the prospect of losing its political dominance. In the Assembly election held earlier this year, the party polled 41.29 per cent of the votes, which fetched it 57 seats less than the 303 it had mopped up in the last election held in 2017.

Its primary challenger, the Samajwadi Party (SP), witnessed a significant increase in both its seat tally and vote share. Led by its president and former CM Akhilesh Yadav, it secured 111 seats and 32.06 per cent votes (against 47 seats and 21.82 per cent votes in 2017). The BSP managed to get 13 per cent, the Congress 2 per cent and the RLD 3 per cent of the votes.

With the Opposition parties coming together, the electoral scenario will clearly change completely.

In Bihar, the BJP cannot challenge the Mahagathbandhan politically. But the Opposition fears that Amit Shah may stir communal feelings by playing the divisive card during his two-day visit to Seemanachal, and in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Nevertheless, Nitish and Tejashwi are firm in their assessment that the BJP and its allies will lose most of their seats in Bihar in 2024.

The latter has reiterated that the BJP will not only be convincingly defeated in Bihar but if all the Opposition parties unite, they will be successful in defeating it at the national level in the 2024 general election.

The socio-political scenario and alignment of the social forces has, meanwhile, undergone a massive change. If the BJP sources are to be relied upon, some of its senior leaders and even that of its allies are uncomfortable with the style of functioning of PM Narendra Modi and his deputy, Amit Shah. They are said to be nursing a feeling that the duo is sidelining them.

It is now clear that the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is set to rejuvenate the common masses as well as the Congress workers at the grassroot level. In such a scenario, the party will clearly play a major role in the coming together of a joint Opposition front.

A couple of days back, Maharashtra stalwart Sharad Pawar also made it explicit during a visit to Delhi that the Congress will be the fulcrum of the Opposition unity, to which everyone, including the Left leaders, were in agreement.

(IPA Service)

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