INDIA alliance
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said the outcome of the MP polls would have been different had the Congress shared some seats with other INDIA constituents | File photo of INDIA bloc leaders

State polls: Dismal Congress show sets off rumblings in INDIA ahead of Dec 6 meet

RJD’s Manoj Jha says he was sure Congress would realise that BJP's self-centred politics could be beaten only through collectivism

With the Assembly poll results in three states being a disappointment for the Congress, some rumblings have begun among the constituents of the INDIA opposition bloc ahead of their meeting on December 6, with many leaders alleging that the grand old party ignored others, but was unable to win elections on its own.

While some opposition leaders, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Janata Dal-United's KC Tyagi, have asserted that the Congress's poll defeats in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan will have no impact on the alliance, some other leaders from the bloc have pointed out that the grand old party had distanced itself from the coalition partners.

Asked about the Congress's electoral performance, Pawar said, "I do not think it will have any impact on the INDIA bloc. We will be meeting at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge's residence in Delhi (on December 6). We will speak to those who are aware of the ground reality. We will be able to comment on it only after the meeting."

Tyagi took a jibe at the Congress and said, "The poll results show the defeat of the Congress and the victory of the BJP. The Congress ignored other INDIA parties, but was unable to win on its own."

JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said the results of assembly polls in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan are a defeat of the Congress and a win for the BJP, noting that the opposition INDIA bloc was missing in the elections.

The Congress never invited or consulted any of its allies in the INDIA bloc even though socialist parties have historically had a presence in these states, he said, attacking the party's leadership for calling off a proposed rally of the opposition alliance in Bhopal in the run-up to the elections.

"It is very necessary now for everyone to strengthen the INDIA bloc. If the alliance meeting was called a couple of months earlier, it would have been good," he said.

More ‘failure’ of Congress than success story of BJP: TMC

The Trinamool Congress on Sunday (December 3) claimed that the BJP's bright show in assembly polls in three states is more of a "failure" of the Congress than a success story of the saffron party.

"In the three states, it is more of a failure of the Congress than a success story of the BJP," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said in a social media message.

Ghosh claimed that the results of elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, a crucial electoral exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls just months away, will not have any impact on the general elections.

"TMC is the party which can provide leadership in the battle to defeat the BJP in the country," he said in a message on his X handle.

The TMC leader claimed that to win the elections in these states, other parties have imbibed the welfare schemes of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Modi’s conceit cannot be fought with conceit: RJD’s Manoj Jha

RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha asserted that there was a need for the Congress to realise that "collectivism" was essential to take on the BJP's "self-centred" politics.

The RJD has for long been a staunch Congress ally.

"Leaders like our national president Lalu Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have acknowledged that among all partners in the INDIA coalition, the Congress has the largest footprint. But, now, the ball is in the Congress' court. It ought to realise that Narendra Modi's conceit cannot be fought with conceit," Jha said.

He was responding to queries from journalists about the perception that the Congress' brusque treatment of allies like Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav may have not gone down well in a state like Madhya Pradesh, which it failed to wrest from BJP.

Jha added, "I am sure Congress will realise that self-centred politics of BJP can be beaten only through collectivism. In the days to come, much better coordination within INDIA may be there for all to see".

He also said, tongue-in-cheek, "before the polls, the BJP used to warily assert that state elections were different from national ones. I hope they will stick to their word and brace for Lok Sabha polls in which voters will hold Modi to account for soaring unemployment".

"As for the BJP in Bihar, they may bask in reflected glory and burst firecrackers. But they should remember Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh were the party's bastion since the days when it used to find it difficult to win five seats here", Jha added.

Kerala Chief Minister and CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan said while facing a formidable opponent like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the three Hindi heartland states, it was necessary to ensure a united front.

"Instead of that, the Congress thought it had already won, that it was a big power and no one could defeat it. This very thought led to its downfall," the Left leader said.

‘Congress had hoped for greater bargaining power’

A senior leader from a major opposition party, who did not wish to be named, said it appeared that the Congress was waiting for the poll results for greater bargaining powers in the INDIA bloc.

"There have been no meetings of the INDIA bloc in a long time. The Congress did not want to meet. Perhaps they were waiting for the results to have greater bargaining power," he said.

"These results on the contrary are bad for the Congress," he added.

The only meeting so far of the Coordination Committee of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) was held in New Delhi on September 13, where the leaders agreed upon holding joint meetings in different parts of the country, the first being in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. However, the Bhopal meeting was not held after Congress leaders in the state shot down the idea.

We are now largest oppn party in north: AAP

As the results pushed the Congress further back, leaving it in power in only three states on its own - Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana - an AAP leader pointed out that it is now the largest opposition party in north India.

"After today's results, Aam Aadmi Party emerges as the largest opposition party in north India with 2 state governments - Punjab and Delhi," Jasmine Shah said in a post on X.

Some also pointed out that the Samajwadi Party (SP) not being accommodated in Madhya Pradesh and Kamal Nath's public comments against SP chief Akhilesh Yadav could be one of the reasons that led to the Congress's poor poll performance in the state.

Talks between the SP and Congress on seat sharing for the Madhya Pradesh polls had failed.

"The insulting words used for Akhileshji by Kamal Nathji is the reason behind the Congress's loss. The Congress lost because of those indignified remarks," SP spokesperson Manoj Yadav Kaka said.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut said the outcome of the Madhya Pradesh polls would have been different had the Congress shared some seats with other constituents of the INDIA bloc.

He said the grand old party should revisit its outlook towards allies, recalling that it was Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath who had opposed sharing seats with the SP.

Raut, however, asserted that Sunday's election results would not cause any rift among the INDIA constituents.

A meeting of the INDIA bloc has been called on December 6.

(With agency inputs)

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