Even as existing fissures continue to cast a pal over the opposition’s I.N.D.I.A. alliance, the coalition members aren’t shying away from expressing their ambitions that run counter to existing partners. While they remain mealy-mouthed about the PM candidate for their alliance, for fear of provoking other coalition partners, every political party in the bloc seems to harbour the ambition of installing their head in the office of Prime Minister.
Shiv Sena UBT’s Priyanka Chaturvedi recently batted for the candidature of party head Uddhav Thackeray for the post of PM candidate for the I.N.D.I.A. alliance. When asked who according to her would be the Prime Ministerial candidate for the general elections that are slated to take place in May 2024, Chaturvedi responded by saying she would want to see Uddhav Thackeray as the PM candidate of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
“There are so many leaders among our ranks. If someone asks me, I will say ‘Mere Saheb, Uddhav Saheb’ for the post of Prime Minister of India. Why is the BJP rattled? We have many leaders capable of leading not only states but the country as well…” Ms Chaturvedi said.
UBT leader Priyanka Chaturvedi bats for Uddhav Thackeray as the PM candidate of the opposition alliance.
Why is the BJP rattled? We have so many capable leaders who can lead not only the state but the entire country. If someone asks me, then I will name Uddhav Thackeray as the PM… pic.twitter.com/pnQR7VvVBt
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) August 30, 2023
“If Nitin Gadkari’s name comes forth mistakenly, his career is ended. On the other hand, is us – six sitting CMs are coming (to the meeting), and senior leaders are coming. We have worked and people are with us. We have a leadership where people can take names openly,” Ms Chaturvedi subsequently added.
The announcement comes at a time when the members of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance are set to meet in Mumbai to hash out further course of inaction even amidst clashing ambitions, war of words, and bitter attack against each other. Apparently, every party in the alliance is vying for increased political mileage from the alliance, trying to unite their individual strengths to take on the Modi juggernaut that has trumped them ever since it started rolling in May 2014.
However, the fundamental differences, personal aspirations, and the battle for regional turfs have prevented the alliance from coalescing into one united bloc with a singular objective. Instead, internal squabbling, clashes, and pervasive scepticism plague the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
Recently, Arvind Kejriwal’s face was missing from the new I.N.D.I.A. poster launched by the alliance, fuelling suspicions that the AAP’s exit from the coalition may be imminent.
Even within the Congress party, clamour for snapping ties with the AAP has been on the rise. Punjab Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa recently expressed his disapproval over the party allying with its rival AAP in the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
While addressing a party event in the state, said that Congress members in Punjab do not accept the alliance. Bajwa said, “Congress ke log, ye jo nayi jamaat aayi hai inka chehra dekhne ko raazi nahi hain … Reluctant friendship jo hoti hai, reluctant shaadi jab aap karwate ho toh woh reluctant shaadi dono parivaron ko phir nuksaan pahuncha deti hai. Hamare log aise anti-Punjab jamaaten ke saath koi dur dur ka rishta nahi rakhna chaahte (Congressmen are not willing to see the faces of leaders of this new party … When there is a reluctant friendship, when you solemnise a reluctant marriage, it harms both the families. Our party workers do not want to be even remotely associated with people who are anti-Punjab).”
Earlier, on the 10th of August, Partap Singh Bajwa had announced that the Congress party is set to independently contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He highlighted that there won’t be any collaboration with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is its alliance partner in the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
Before that, Delhi Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said that Aam Aadmi Party is a party of fools. He made this statement while backing party leader Alka Lamba’s remarks that the Congress party will contest all 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the upcoming general elections of 2024, hinting at no alliance with AAP despite being part of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
The fate of another political party, NCP, on whether it’s going to be a part of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance or the BJP-led NDA alliance remains in limbo after Sharad Pawar recently said that Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, is a party leader and there is no split in the party. After realising that his statements caused confusion for the party cadres and his alliance partners, Sharad Pawar was quick to clarify that Ajit Pawar was not his party leader.
The prevailing confusion over the loyalty of the coalition members, the internal bickering as evident from the war of words between AAP and Congress and the clashing ambitions where every head of the member parties is angling for an elevated role in the national politics encapsulates the fickle nature of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, which seeks its legitimacy from shared hatred for PM Modi rather than ideological coherence and a collective vision for the country.