As the high-stakes general elections approach, India’s political environment is undergoing intriguing changes. While 65 parties have elected to support either the BJP or the Congress-led coalition, 11 parties, representing 91 members of Parliament, have chosen to remain neutral for the time being.
Three fence-sitting parties that govern large states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha – each contributes 63 Lok Sabha MPs. Congress and other opposition parties have been driven to the margins as a result of this predicament.
In reaction to this scenario, the Congress, together with 25 other opposition parties, has announced the formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in order to compete with the BJP-led NDA, which presently includes 39 parties.
Among the 11 parties that have decided not to join any alliance are the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the triumphant winner in Andhra Pradesh in 2019, and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has ruled Odisha since 2000 and has consistently supported the BJP-led government in Parliament.
Interestingly, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which has governed Telangana from its inception in 2014, had earlier considered joining the opposition alliance but ultimately decided against it.
Similarly, the Mayawati-led BSP, which has nine Lok Sabha MPs, has chosen to remain outside of the opposition alliance. The BSP, which has governed Uttar Pradesh four times, has announced its intention to contest the next Lok Sabha elections on its own, as well as assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana.
“We have to ensure that there is a ‘helpless’ (majboor) government and not a strong government at the Centre,” Mayawati said. Only this will assure that the poor, dalits, adivasis, oppressed, and minorities’ rights are protected even if the BSP does not win power.”
Furthermore, BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik chastised the BJP for underfunding the state in central schemes. He has urged his party’s MPs to raise this matter loudly during Parliament’s Monsoon Session.
Furthermore, the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, which was left out of the opposition alliance, voiced disappointment, claiming that they were regarded as “political untouchables.” AIMIM has a significant presence in Hyderabad and the neighboring areas of Telangana, and it hopes to grow its influence in states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Karnataka.
AIMIM spokesperson Waris Pathan attacked the opposition alliance, pointing out that politicians like as Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, and Mehbooba Mufti, who had previously joined with the BJP, were present at the Bengaluru conference. In contrast, the AIMIM, which is also working to defeat the BJP, felt ignored.