Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's comments are the latest proof of the discontent sparked by the losses experienced by Congress in three Hindi heartland Assembly elections.
Mamata Banerjee stated today (4 December) that the Congress' loss in the elections was due to the absence of seat-sharing agreements with other INDI Alliance members, emphasising that it was a "defeat of the Congress, not the people".
According to NDTV, Akhilesh Yadav, the president of the Samajwadi Party (SP), also commented on the Congress' losses, implying that regional parties should take the lead in combating the BJP in areas where they have influence.
"Congress emerged victorious in Telangana and would have also succeeded in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan if not for votes being taken by INDI Alliance parties," stated Banerjee, during an Assembly address. "We had previously proposed a seat-sharing arrangement. The division of votes led to their defeat. This is the undeniable truth," she said.
She emphasised the importance of ideology and strategy, stating that if a seat-sharing agreement is in place, the BJP will not ascend to power in 2024.
She asserted that the INDI Alliance of Opposition parties will collaborate and amend errors before the forthcoming general election next year. "We will take lessons from our mistakes," she expressed.
The comments were made following the Congress party's losses in three key states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Despite competing for all 40 seats in Mizoram, the party only secured victory in one. The only solace for the party was a win in Telangana.
During the recent Assembly elections, the Congress party and INDI Alliance parties chose to run independently on numerous seats. Many observers have attributed this decision to a split in votes, which ultimately worked in favor of the BJP.
In Madhya Pradesh, negotiations were underway between the Congress and Akhilesh Yadav's party, but they broke down due to disagreements over seat distribution. Kamal Nath, who spearheaded the Congress campaign, brushed off a media question about the alliance discussions, stating, "leave Akhilesh and the like".
Discussing the election outcomes, Yadav stated today, "This is an extended struggle. We need significant preparation to overcome a party such as the BJP. We must counter their tactics with discipline."
He stated that INDI Alliance must "return to its roots". "Our initial stance was to back the parties in the areas where they hold significant strength. The 2024 elections will be a landmark event. A shift is imminent," he said.
KC Tyagi of Janata Dal-United stated that the Congress overlooked other Indian parties, yet failed to secure a victory independently. Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala's Chief Minister and leader of the CPM, emphasised the importance of unity in battling the BJP in the Hindi heartland.
Sanjay Raut, a leader from Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), stated that the results of the Madhya Pradesh elections could have been different if the Congress had allocated some seats to other members of the INDI Alliance.
A high-ranking official from a prominent Opposition party informed PTI news agency that it seemed like the Congress was anticipating the election outcomes to enhance their negotiation strength within the group.
"The INDI Alliance hasn't convened for a considerable period. The Congress seemed reluctant to arrange a meeting, possibly anticipating that the outcome would provide them with more negotiation leverage," he stated.
However, the primary opposition party is now at a disadvantage due to its unsuccessful gamble, ahead of the forthcoming INDI Alliance meeting on Wednesday. According to sources, Banerjee is not expected to participate in the meeting.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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