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Talks within INDIA bloc to form a non-BJP Govt amid NDA developments

Talks within INDIA bloc to form a non-BJP Govt amid NDA developments

As the NDA, led by the BJP, is all set to form the government with its allies, some parties in the opposition INDIA bloc are said to be seeking broader options, including initiating talks with Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu to bring more parties into the fold.

The opposition alliance, notably the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Shiv Sena (UBT), and to some extent the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), expects that JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar and TDP's Chandrababu Naidu would amend their stand if certain demands are met.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee initiated this effort by reaching out to Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav on the day of the election results, The Indian Express reported.

Banerjee urged Yadav to connect with both N Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar. Both Naidu and Kumar share a rapport with Yadav’s late father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, dating back to the United Front era of the mid-1990s.

TMC's Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien met with Akhilesh Yadav in New Delhi to follow up on the initial discussion. Parallel efforts by the AAP saw leaders Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha also meet with Banerjee before visiting Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s residence.

Banerjee and O’Brien then travelled to Mumbai to engage with Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray. Following these meetings, Yadav emphasized the importance of maintaining hope and expectations within a democratic framework, indicating an openness to further alliances.

While the SP acknowledged the improbability of immediate shifts in allegiance by Naidu or Kumar, they concurred with the TMC's strategy of keeping the BJP under pressure. Meanwhile, the Congress is adopting a more reserved approach, refraining from aggressively seeking new allies, given the INDIA bloc's current inability to claim governance. Left-leaning leaders share the sentiment that premature coalition efforts could prove counterproductive.

The Congress's current strategy, influenced by past political miscalculations, aims to keep avenues open for potential alliances with figures like Nitish Kumar and Naidu. A senior TMC leader pointed out that Narendra Modi's BJP, after a decade in power, faces rejection, marking a pivotal moment for the Opposition to strategize.

Within the TMC, there are claims that three newly-elected BJP MPs from West Bengal have established contact with Banerjee. Additionally, two Independents—Congress rebels Rajesh Ranjan from Bihar and Vishal Patil from Maharashtra—have expressed readiness to support the Congress.

TMC leaders assert that the foundational goal is to establish a non-BJP government, with subsequent developments remaining open to various possibilities. The party also contends that decision-making within the INDIA bloc should not be dominated by the Left, emphasizing the significant representation of parties like the SP, TMC, and Shiv Sena (UBT), each with substantial parliamentary seats and distinct perspectives.

The Congress's cautious stance stems from its experience in 1999 when premature moves led to a failed bid to form a government after the fall of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s administration. At the time, Sonia Gandhi's attempt to secure the presidency based on a claimed support of 272 MPs ultimately fell short, leading to political setbacks.

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TAGS:NDAINDIA blocLok Sabha Elections 2024
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