New Delhi: While the Election Commission of India has still not announced the official dates of the 2024 General Elections, political parties in the country have started their campaigning. To elect the 18th Lok Sabha, the elections reportedly will be taking place in the months of April and May. The contest would be a fight between the BJP-led NDA and the newly formed I.N.D.I.A alliance.
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections saw the BJP secure a massive 303 seats, which is way more than the 272 required to form a majority government. Combined with its NDA allies, the total number shot up to 353 of the total 543 seats.
The Congress party though has fared poorly in both 2014 and 2019 General Elections. At the back of successive poor performances, the party decided to form the I.N.D.I.A. alliance.
The alliance is a coalition of 26 parties involving major state-level parties such as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and many others.
New entrants in NDA
However, ever since its formation, problems have been plaguing I.N.D.I.A. alliance. A major blow came recently when one of the major alliance members Janata Dal United (JDU), led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, quit the alliance to join NDA.
This is a major blow both to the alliance and its image. It sends a message across of its weakness in holding together partners which may escalate and see others quit and join NDA as well.
This now seems to slowly happen and as the General Elections approach, the rising tide of NDA is seeing more and more join in.
Now talks of BJP and RLD reaching a final stage of agreement is also near certain. According to reports, BJP has offered Bijnor and Baghpat Lok Sabha seats in UP to the Jayant Chaudhary-led RLD.
To further cement the buzz, RLD has also reportedly accepted a government invite to visit Ayodhya on February 11. While the Samajwadi Party says the developments are unconfirmed, the case seems to be on NDA’s side.
It is not just RLD which is expected to join NDA, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is also reportedly close to signing an agreement with the NDA.
In addition, TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu also met Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday evening and since then talks of an alliance between the two have also heated up. Meanwhile, three YSRCP MPs have resigned from their party and are set to join TDP.
Another possible NDA entrant, if recent reports are to be believed, seems to be an old BJP friend, Punjab’s Shiromani Akali Dal.
All in all, the NDA with its penchant for forming alliances, quickly and efficiently, has started preparations for the 2024 General Elections in the right spirit. While its last electoral foray saw the party reach the majority number without the need of allies, the party has enough political acumen to realise that every friend that it can get is important.
For the I.N.D.I.A. alliance though, each day seems to subtract numbers and their chances of putting up strong opposition to the ruling dispensation.
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