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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 32, August 5, 2023

India’s 2024 General elections: Who is the opposition Prime Ministerial candidate? | Thirunahari Seshaiah

Saturday 5 August 2023


Elections to the 18th Lok Sabha are going to be held in another ten months. It seems that the political parties in the country are sharpening their strategies to win the elections. With the aim of winning the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are holding meetings with their alliance parties in a strategy to prevent the BJP from coming to power at the Central for the third time. On the other hand, the Congress party has formed an alliance INDIA (Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance) with 26 of its partners, as well as the parties that are opposed to the BJP in the country. On the other hand, the BJP, which is blinded by the hat-trick victory, is also making strategies to fight the elections with its 38 NDA partners. The Congress, which feels that it cannot defeat the BJP alone in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, has formed a strong alliance with the anti-BJP forces and defeated the BJP. If the BJP is trying to defeat it, it is expected to face the election in a strong alliance with similar parties and win the elections. Political analysis is being done at the national level on the issue of which party will participate in national politics, which alliance is strong, and which alliance has the best chance of coming to power.

What is the strength of any alliance?

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has commented that there is going to be a war between the ruling NDA and the opposition INDIA Alliance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which shows the level of competition between the two alliances. INDIA alliance it has 150 Lok Sabha members in the seventeenth Lok Sabha, and the alliance has already held its meetings in Patna and Bengaluru and decided to hold its third meeting in Mumbai. Even if the Congress is the main party in the alliance, it can increase its Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan if it currently has 82 Lok Sabha seats in these three states. Congress has only two Lok Sabha seats: the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the RJD Janata Dal United in Bihar, the TMC in Bengal, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. If they can increase their Lok Sabha seats, the INDIA Alliance will come to power at the center in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sarath Power, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, and Mamata Banerjee are the ones who can influence the elections across the country, so there is no chance for the alliance to become extra strong, but in the background of the doubts that some parties of different poles will run together with the alliance till the end, blue shadows are looming over the alliance. In response to the India alliance, the ruling NDA alliance also demonstrated its strength in the Delhi meeting with 38 parties on July 18, 2023. After winning 303 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP, unlike its stance, started efforts to strengthen the NDA alliance by inviting parties that had distanced themselves from the NDA for various reasons into the NDA. 27 parties in the NDA alliance do not have a single Lok Sabha member in the current Lok Sabha. Except for one AIADMK party, all the parties in the NDA alliance are small. More than half of the parties in the NDA alliance are small parties like the Jana Sena party from Andhra Pradesh, which participated in the alliance meetings, and more than a dozen parties in this alliance are from North Eastern states. The Shiv Sena split, the Shinde faction, the NCP split, the Ajit Pawar faction, the LJP split, and the Pashupati faction are the big parties in this alliance; except for one BJP in the NDA, the influence of the other parties is nominal. In terms of political history, the INDI alliance looks stronger than the NDA alliance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India alliance has been heavily criticized as an alliance of corrupt and parivar legacy politics that is not sustainable.

Who is the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate?

If Narendra Modi, is the prime ministerial candidate from the ruling NDA alliance, who is the prime ministerial candidate from the INDIA alliance, and who is the leader who will challenge Modi? There has been no answer from the INDIA alliance until now. He could not become Prime Minister, but a Maratha warrior like Pawar may not contest for the post of Prime Minister due to his age, but Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, and Stalin, like the INDIA alliance, are eligible to become Prime Minister.

Stalin as the prime ministerial candidate!

In light of the fact that Congress, the main party in the INDIA alliance, has declared that it is not interested in the post of Prime Minister, the India Alliance thinks that a leader who is equal to Modi from the opposition alliance should be placed before the people as the Prime Minister candidate. Analysts believe that by promoting the name Stalin as the prime ministerial candidate, there is a chance to attract minorities, Dalits, and other backward classes across the country. There is a chance to create the impression among the people that he will spread the "Dravidian model of development" and good governance across the country. As a part of the Modi government’s pre-planning that Stalin’s prime ministerial candidature should not come to the fore, non-cooperation with Governor NR Ravi’s government, Tamil Nadu BJP president Annamalai’s aggressive behavior against the government, and Stalin’s cabinet colleagues, Senthil Balaji, and Ponumudi, are being attacked by the Enforcement Directorate. Also, with the blessings of Sonia Gandhi, many parties in the country did not have the opportunity to express their positive attitude towards Stalin, especially Biju Janata Dal leader Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and YSR Congress Party leader AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who are neutral without leaning towards any alliance and are also those who have good relations with Stalin. There is no possibility of favoring Stalin over Modi. There is no doubt that Stalin will also get the support of Telangana State Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who is trying to make an impact in national politics. Out of the 28 states in the country, the BJP is strongest in the north-eastern states, including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. In all other states, the INDIA alliance can compete strongly with the NDA alliance. The tradition of changing the government once a decade will change, and we will have to wait until the election to see whether the NDA will come to power again or the government will change.

(Author: Dr. Thirunahari Seshaiah is working as Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University Arts & Science College, (Autonomous), Kakatiya University, Warangal, Telangana State. He has 25 years of teaching and 10 years of research experience. e-mail: tseshu87[at]

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