Historical Perspectives

The Rise of I.N.D.I.A.: A New Challenge for Modi

Navigating India's Complex Political Landscape, the 28-Party Coalition Aims to Redefine Governance in 2024

Table of Contents

Understanding India’s Political Landscape

It is important to understand the Indian political landscape before we delve into the formation and prospects of the Indian Alliance. India is a dynamic and varied political landscape that accommodates a myriad of parties representing diverse regions, communities, ideologies, and interests. Yet, the expanding party spectrum poses challenges to democracy. In this exploration, we delve into the origins of the India Alliance, a coalition of 28 opposition parties poised to challenge the ruling N.D.A. government in the 2024 general elections.

The Indian Political Tapestry

India’s political architecture, rooted in multi-party democracy, witnesses a multitude of parties contesting for the people’s mandate, shaping governments at both national and state levels. This diversity mirrors the multifaceted nature of Indian society, providing a platform for varied opinions and demands. However, the burgeoning party landscape brings forth challenges such as electorate fragmentation, voting intricacies, party accountability concerns, and coalition formation complexities.

In recent times, the political stage has been largely divided by two major players: the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.), spearheading the National Democratic Alliance (N.D.A.), and the Indian National Congress (Congress), leading the United Progressive Alliance (U.P.A.). Since 2014, the B.J.P., under the charismatic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has wielded central power, expanding its reach through alliances with regional parties and experiencing electoral victories. The party successfully unified the Hindu vote, a majority of the people, by tapping into religious and nationalist sentiments and implementing widespread welfare and development initiatives.

Conversely, the Congress, India’s oldest and largest national party, grapples with a diminishing support base across regions, communities, and classes. The influence of regional parties compounds their challenges, while leadership flaws and governance lapses expose vulnerabilities. In numerous states and regions, the Congress finds itself marginalized, failing to mount a substantial challenge to the B.J.P. on the national stage.

In response to this formidable challenge, opposition parties have merged to form the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.), comprising 28 parties. By pooling their electoral endeavors, they aim to prove

The Formation of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

representatives from different regions in India coming together for the formation of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance.
Unity in Diversity: The historic moment when the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance was formed.

The idea of the Alliance was first shared by the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who leads the Janata Dal (United) (J.D.U.) party. He proposed to form a united alliance by coordinating 16 opposition parties to stand together in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The parties who share the ideas and principles of secularism, federalism, and social justice are invited to join the Alliance. 

Origins and Launch

The Alliance was officially launched on 18 July 2023 in Bengaluru, Karnataka, in a meeting of 16 opposition party leaders. It was named the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) At the same meeting, the leaders of the Alliance added 10 more parties to the coalition in that meeting, and it became a 28-party alliance.

The vision, mission, core values, principles, and goals of the Alliance.

The vision and mission of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, as articulated by its leaders, outline a commitment to shaping a united, inclusive, and progressive India that reveres its diversity and plurality. Their focus extends to ensuring the development and welfare of all citizens, particularly those marginalized and oppressed.

The mission of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is underscored by a resolve to challenge and overcome the N.D.A. government, citing reasons of authoritarianism, communalism, and corruption under the current Modi regime. They aspire to rectify the perceived erosion of secularism and federalism, presenting themselves as a superior alternative with a clear and coherent vision and program. Active steps are taken to address the array of issues faced by the populace during the N.D.A. government’s tenure, including unemployment, poverty, inequality, health, education, and environmental concerns.

Values

Secularism: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance stands to separate religion from other aspects of society, such as politics, law, education, and culture. And promote the freedom of religion, human rights, democracy, and rationality.

Federalism: Effectively divides the power between the central government and states. And allows each level of government to have some autonomy and independence from the other levels while also cooperating on common issues.

Social Justice: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is dedicated to providing fairness and equality for individuals and religious groups in the country. Provides equal distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges, as well as the protection of human rights and the promotion of diversity and inclusion. Challenge and overcome the discrimination and oppression faced by many people on the basis of factors of religion under the Modi regime.

Development: Improving the living conditions and well-being of the people of India in various aspects of life, such as economy, technology, health, education, environment, and culture, is another value of the Alliance.

Inclusion: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance ensures all people, regardless of their identity, background, or ability, participate and contribute to society in a meaningful and dignified way. And aims to create and foster conditions that allow and encourage diversity, representation, and belonging among different groups and individuals. And to address the exclusion and discrimination that many people face on the basis of factors such as race, gender, religion, and others under the Modi government. 

The goals of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance include

  1. Winning the 2024 general elections: Securing a majority in the Lok Sabha to form the next central government.
  2. Implementing the common minimum program: Outlining policies and priorities on various issues and sectors, such as agriculture, industry, education, health, infrastructure, defense, and foreign affairs.
  3. Strengthening the Alliance: Expanding its base and support across different regions and communities, along with resolving any internal differences or conflicts among partners.
  4. Restoring trust in democratic institutions: Ensuring accountability, transparency, and fostering confidence among the people.
  5. Countering propaganda and misinformation: Exposing the failures and misdeeds propagated by the N.D.A. and its allies.

The I.N.D.I.A. Alliance: Structure and Leadership

Key leaders of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance standing together in a show of unity.
Guiding the Nation: The leadership of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance in a united front.

To achieve the goals, the Alliance needs to have a clear and effective structure and leadership. Therefore, the Alliance has four main committees that guide its functioning and activities:

Key Committees

  • The Coordination Committee: The highest body of the Alliance is the coordination committee, which comprises the presidents or representatives of all the partner parties. This committee oversees the functioning and decision-making of the Alliance and resolves any disputes or conflicts among the partners. It is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the common minimum program that outlines the basic principles and policies of the Alliance. The C.M.P. covers secularism, federalism, social justice, and economic development. Sonia Gandhi was the chairperson of the coordination committee.
  • The Election Strategy Committee: The committee that plans and executes the election campaign of the Alliance. This committee consists of the senior leaders and strategists of the partner parties. It allocates the seats and candidates among the partners and manages the resources and funds for the elections. Head of the election strategy committee. Is Sharad Pawar, who is the president of the NCP.
  • The Campaign Committee: The committee is responsible for organizing public rallies, meetings, and events for the Alliance. This committee coordinates leaders and spokespersons of the partner parties for its campaigns and meetings. And communicates the vision and program of the Alliance to the people and acts to counter the propaganda and misinformation of the N.D.A. and its allies against the Alliance.  The committee is led by Rahul Gandhi, the most visible and vocal leader of the Alliance.
  • The Working Group for Media: The committee that handles the media relations and outreach of the Alliance comprises media coordinators and advisors of the partner parties. Its responsibilities include creating and disseminating the content and messages of the Alliance through various media platforms. The committee also monitors and responds to the media coverage and feedback of the Alliance. Derek O’Brien, the leader of the T.M.C. in the Rajya Sabha and a former journalist, heads the committee.

Partners and Leaders of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a coalition of 28 political parties that oppose the ruling N.D.A. government in India. The Alliance aims to provide an alternative and inclusive vision for the country based on the common minimum program agreed by the partners. The Alliance was formed in 2022, ahead of the general elections, to challenge the dominance and hegemony of the N.D.A. and its allies. The partners and leaders of the Alliance are:

Key Partners and Leaders

  1. The official flag of the Indian National Congress, featuring the party symbol and tricolor design.
    Symbol of Leadership: The iconic flag of the Indian National Congress.

    Indian National Congress (I.N.C.): The largest and oldest partner of the Alliance, the I.N.C. is a national party that has a long history of leading the freedom movement and governing the country. The party follows the ideology of secularism, socialism, and democracy and advocates for the rights and welfare of the poor, the minorities, the farmers, and the workers.  The party is led by Sonia Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the coordination committee of the Alliance.

     

  2. The official flag of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), featuring the party symbol and unique color scheme.
    Colors of Ideals: The distinctive flag representing the Nationalist Congress Party.

    Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): The second-largest partner of the Alliance, the NCP is a national party that was formed in 1999 by the former members of the I.N.C. who opposed the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. The party follows the ideology of secularism, federalism, and social justice and champions the cause of the farmers, the backward classes, and the regional aspirations.  The party is led by Sharad Pawar, who is also the head of the election strategy committee of the Alliance.

     

  3. The official flag of the Trinamool Congress (T.M.C.), featuring the party symbol and distinctive colors.
    Colors of Change: The symbol-laden flag of the Trinamool Congress (T.M.C.).

    Trinamool Congress (T.M.C.): The third-largest partner of the Alliance, the T.M.C. is a regional party that was formed in 1998 by the former members of the I.N.C. who opposed the rule of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal. The party follows the ideology of secularism, nationalism, and populism and focuses on the development and empowerment of West Bengal and its people. The party is led by Mamata Banerjee, who is also the chief minister of West Bengal and one of the most popular and influential leaders of the Alliance.

     

  4. The official flag of the Samajwadi Party (S.P.), featuring the party symbol and vibrant color combination.
    Vibrancy in Politics: The distinctive flag of the Samajwadi Party (S.P.).

    Samajwadi Party (S.P.): The fourth-largest partner of the Alliance, the S.P. is a regional party that was formed in 1992 by the former members of the Janata Dal who supported the Mandal Commission report on the reservation for the backward classes. The party follows the ideology of socialism, secularism, and democracy. It works for the upliftment and empowerment of the backward classes, minorities, and the poor in Uttar Pradesh and other states. The party is led by Akhilesh Yadav, who is also the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and one of the youngest and most dynamic leader.

     

  5. The official flag of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (R.J.D.), featuring the party symbol and distinctive color scheme.
    Colors of Representation: The emblematic flag of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (R.J.D.).

    Rashtriya Janata Dal (R.J.D.): The fifth-largest partner of the Alliance, the R.J.D. is a regional party that was formed in 1997 by the former members of the Janata Dal who supported the leadership of Lalu Prasad Yadav. The party follows the ideology of secularism, social justice, and democracy. It represents the interests and aspirations of the backward classes, the minorities, and the poor in Bihar and other states.  The party is led by Tejashwi Yadav, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly and the son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, the founder of the party and one of the most charismatic and controversial leaders of the Alliance.

  6. The official flag of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D.M.K.), featuring the party symbol and distinctive color combination.
    Emblem of Identity: The distinctive flag of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D.M.K.).

    Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D.M.K.): The sixth-largest partner of the Alliance, the D.M.K. is a regional party that was formed in 1949 by the followers of E.V. Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar, who advocated for the self-respect and social justice of the Dravidian people.  The party follows the ideology of secularism, federalism, and social democracy and promotes the development and autonomy of Tamil Nadu and its culture. The party is led by M.K. Stalin, who is also the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and the son of M. Karunanidhi, the former chief minister and the president of the party for 50 years.

     

  7. The official flag of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (C.P.I. (M)), featuring the party symbol and distinct red color.
    Red Legacy: The iconic flag of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (C.P.I. (M)).

    Communist Party of India (Marxist) (C.P.I. (M)): The seventh-largest partner of the Alliance, the C.P.I. (M) is a national party that was formed in 1964 by the radical faction of the Communist Party of India, which https://cpim.org/opposed the revisionist policies of the Soviet Union.  The party follows the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and democracy and fights for the rights and welfare of the workers, the peasants, the women, and the oppressed sections of society. The party is led by Sitaram Yechury, who is also the general secretary of the party and one of the most articulate and experienced leaders of the Alliance.

  8. The official flag of the Communist Party of India (C.P.I.), featuring the party symbol and the distinctive red color.
    Red Vanguard: The emblematic flag of the Communist Party of India (C.P.I.).

    Communist Party of India (C.P.I.): The eighth-largest partner of the Alliance, the C.P.I. is a national party that was formed in 1925 by the revolutionaries and socialists who participated in the freedom movement. The party follows the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and democracy. It works for the interests and welfare of the workers, the peasants, the women, and the oppressed sections of society. The party is led by D. Raja, who is also the general secretary of the party and one of the most respected and veteran leaders of the Alliance.

     

  9. The official flag of the Bahujan Samaj Party (B.S.P.), featuring the party symbol and distinctive blue color.
    Blue Horizon: The symbolic flag of the Bahujan Samaj Party (B.S.P.).

    Bahujan Samaj Party (B.S.P.): The ninth-largest partner of the Alliance, the B.S.P. is a national party that was formed in 1984 by the followers of B.R. Ambedkar, who championed the cause of the Dalits and the oppressed castes. The party follows the ideology of social transformation, secularism, and democracy and strives for the empowerment and representation of the Dalits, the backward classes, the minorities, and the poor.  The party is led by Mayawati, who is also the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and one of the most powerful and influential leaders of the Alliance.

  10. The official flag of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), featuring the party symbol and vibrant colors.
    People’s Colors: The distinctive flag of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

    Aam Aadmi Party (A.A.P.): The tenth-largest partner of the Alliance, the A.A.P. is a national party that was formed in 2012 by the activists and supporters of the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. The party follows the ideology of anti-corruption, secularism, and participatory democracy and aims to provide clean and accountable governance to the people. The party is led by Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the chief minister of Delhi and one of the most popular and innovative leaders of the Alliance.

The other 18 partner parties of the Alliance are

  1. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (A.I.M.I.M.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of Muslims and other minorities in Telangana and other states. The party is led by Asaduddin Owaisi, who is also a member of parliament and a fiery orator.
  2. All India United Democratic Front (A.I.U.D.F.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Muslims and other minorities in Assam and other states. The party is led by Badruddin Ajmal, who is also a member of parliament and a perfume baron.
  3. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of Muslims and other minorities in Kerala and other states. The party is led by P.K. Kunhalikutty, who is also a member of parliament and a former minister.
  4. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (J.M.M.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the tribals and other backward classes in Jharkhand and other states. The party is led by Hemant Soren, who is also the chief minister of Jharkhand and the son of Shibu Soren, the founder of the party.
  5. Rashtriya Lok Dal (R.L.D.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the farmers and the Jats in Uttar Pradesh and other states. The party is led by Jayant Chaudhary, who is also a member of parliament and the grandson of Charan Singh, the former prime minister and the leader of the farmers’ movement.
  6. Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (R.L.P.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the farmers and the Jats in Rajasthan and other states. The party is led by Hanuman Beniwal, who is also a member of parliament and a former B.J.P. leader.
  7. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Marathas and the Hindutva ideology in Maharashtra and other states. The party is led by Uddhav Thackeray, who is also the chief minister of Maharashtra and the son of Bal Thackeray, the founder of the party.
  8. National Conference (N.C.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Kashmiris and the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. The party is led by Farooq Abdullah, who is also a member of parliament and a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
  9. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Kashmiris and the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. The party is led by Mehbooba Mufti, who is also a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
  10. Lok Janshakti Party (L.J.P.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Dalits and other oppressed castes in Bihar and other states. [55] The party is led by Chirag Paswan, who is also a member of parliament and the son of Ram Vilas Paswan, the founder of the party and a former minister.
  11. Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (Y.S.R.C.P.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Reddys and other backward classes in Andhra Pradesh and other states.  The party is led by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is also the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and the son of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
  12. Bharat Rashtra Samithi formerly known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (T.R.S.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Telangana people and the autonomy of Telangana. The party is led by K. Chandrashekar Rao, who is also the chief minister of Telangana and the founder of the party.
  13. Biju Janata Dal (BJD): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Odia people and the development of Odisha. [61] The party is led by Naveen Patnaik, who is also the chief minister of Odisha and the son of Biju Patnaik, the former chief minister of Odisha.
  14. Makkal Needhi Maiam (M.N.M.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Tamil people and the social justice of the marginalized sections of the society. [63] The party is led by Kamal Haasan, who is also a famous actor and a social activist.
  15. Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (S.K.M.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Sikkimese people and the autonomy of Sikkim. [65] The party is led by Prem Singh Tamang, who is also the chief minister of Sikkim and a former minister.
  16. Jannayak Janta Party (J.J.P.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the farmers and the Jats in Haryana and other states. [67] The party is led by Dushyant Chautala, who is also the deputy chief minister of Haryana and the grandson of Om Prakash Chautala, the former chief minister of Haryana.
  17. Mizo National Front (M.N.F.): A regional party that represents the interests and aspirations of the Mizos and the autonomy of Mizoram.  The party is led by Zoramthanga, who is also the chief minister of Mizoram and a former rebel leader

These are the partners and leaders of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, who have come together to form a formidable and diverse coalition against the N.D.A. government. The Alliance has a common minimum program that outlines the basic principles and policies of the Alliance, such as secularism, federalism, social justice, and economic development. The Alliance also has a clear and effective structure and leadership, with four main committees that guide its functioning and activities. [72] The Alliance hopes to win the trust and support of the people of India and provide a better and brighter future for the country.

Strengths of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

Wide Geographical and Social Coverage: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is made with parties that have a strong presence across key Indian states, like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Maharashtra. It covers wide social groups, from Dalits to religious minorities; the Alliance aims to address the grievances of those who feel marginalized by the N.D.A.’s policies.

Common Agenda and Ideology: Unified by a shared agenda against anti-people and divisive policies of the N.D.A., the Alliance champions the values of secularism, socialism, federalism, and pluralism. This cohesive ideology positions the I.N.D.I.A. alliance as a defender of rights and freedoms, promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

Experienced and Charismatic Leaders: Counting on leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, and Akhilesh Yadav, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance possesses a pool of experienced and charismatic figures with proven governance records. These leaders can effectively express the Alliance’s vision and agenda, rallying mass support.

Weaknesses of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

  1. Lack of Clear Leadership: The absence of a decided prime ministerial candidate or a clear leader within the I.N.D.I.A. alliance may create uncertainty among voters, potentially leading to ego clashes and power struggles among the plethora of leaders with differing ambitions.
  2. Lack of a Coherent Strategy: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance currently lacks a proactive and offensive strategy against the N.D.A. Vague, and ambiguous policies may portray the coalition as opportunistic. Communicating its vision effectively, especially against the N.D.A.’s media dominance, poses a considerable challenge.
  3. Lack of Trust and Coordination: Internal rivalries, ideological differences, and a history of discord among alliance partners may hinder trust and coordination. The potential for defections or shifts in allegiance, whether induced by the N.D.A. or arising from dissatisfaction within the Alliance, adds a layer of complexity.

Threats from the N.D.A. and Other Competitors

  1. The N.D.A.’s Popularity and Performance: Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s leadership and the N.D.A.’s perceived successes, including bold policy moves and effective pandemic management, contribute to a high level of popularity. The N.D.A.’s vision for the future, encompassing initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Digital India, may resonate with aspirational and young voters.
  2. The N.D.A.’s Resources and Organization: The N.D.A.’s Resources and Organization against I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a topic that involves the comparison and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the two major political coalitions in India, namely the National Democratic Alliance (N.D.A.) and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.). The N.D.A. is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.), which is a right-leaning pro-Hindu party that has been in power since 2014 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a newly formed coalition of 28 opposition parties led by the Indian National Congress (I.N.C.), which is a centrist secular party that has been the main rival of the B.J.P. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance was announced in July 2023 with the aim of challenging the N.D.A. in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Factors Influencing the Resources and Organization of Both Alliances

Popularity and Charisma of Leaders

The popularity and charisma of the leaders: Modi is widely seen as a strong and decisive leader who has a loyal and devoted following among the masses, especially the Hindu majority. He is also known for his effective use of social media and digital platforms to communicate his vision and achievements. On the other hand, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance does not have a clear leader or a prime ministerial candidate. It relies on the collective leadership of various regional and national leaders, such as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, and others. This may create confusion and conflict among the voters and the alliance partners and may also reduce the appeal and credibility of the Alliance.

Ideological and Regional Diversity of Partners:

The ideological and regional diversity of the partners: The N.D.A. is a relatively cohesive and stable alliance, with the B.J.P. as the dominant partner and the other allies as the junior partners. The N.D.A. partners share a common ideological orientation, which is based on the promotion of Hindu nationalism, economic development, and national security. The N.D.A. also has a wide geographical presence, covering most of the states and regions of India. On the other hand, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a heterogeneous and fragile alliance, with the I.N.C. as the largest partner and the other allies as the equal partners. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance partners have different ideological orientations, which range from left to right and from secular to religious. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance also has a limited geographical presence, with some states and regions being dominated by the N.D.A. or other regional parties.

Policy and Governance Performance:

The policy and governance performance of the incumbents: The N.D.A. has been in power for two consecutive terms and has implemented various policies and reforms, such as the Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.), the demonetization, the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Make in India initiative, and others. The N.D.A. claims that these policies and reforms have improved the economic growth, social welfare, and national security of the country. However, the N.D.A. has also faced criticism and opposition for some of its policies and actions, such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (C.A.A.), the abrogation of Article 370, the farmers’ protests, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising unemployment, inflation, and poverty, and the alleged erosion of democracy, secularism, and human rights.

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance has been critical of the N.D.A.’s policies and governance and has promised to reverse or amend some of them if elected to power. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance has also proposed its policies and reforms, such as the Pradhan Mantri Anushuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana, the National Health Mission Plus, the National Research Foundation, the Skill India Mission, and others. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance claims that these policies and reforms will restore the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution and will ensure the development, inclusion, and justice of all sections of society.

The N.D.A.’s Allies and Defectors

A visual representation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) showcasing allies and notable defectors.
Navigating Alliances: A snapshot of the N.D.A.’s political landscape, featuring allies and defectors.

The N.D.A.’s Allies and Defectors is a topic that involves the analysis of the political alliances and defections of the National Democratic Alliance (N.D.A.), the ruling coalition in India led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.). The N.D.A. has been in power since 2014 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has faced various challenges and opportunities in its relations with its allies and opponents. Some of the factors that may influence the allies and defectors of the N.D.A. are:

  • The popularity and performance of the B.J.P.: The B.J.P. is the dominant partner and the largest party in the N.D.A., with 303 seats out of 543 in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the parliament. The B.J.P. has gained popularity and support among the masses, especially the Hindu majority, by projecting Modi as a strong and decisive leader and by implementing various policies and reforms, such as the Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.), the demonetization, the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Make in India initiative, and others. The B.J.P. has also faced criticism and opposition for some of its policies and actions, such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (C.A.A.), the abrogation of Article 370, the farmers’ protests, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising unemployment, inflation, and poverty, and the alleged erosion of democracy, secularism, and human rights. The B.J.P.’s popularity and performance may affect its ability to attract and retain allies and to counter the defections and challenges from the opposition parties.
  • The ideological and regional diversity of the partners: The N.D.A. is a relatively cohesive and stable alliance, with the B.J.P. as the dominant partner and the other allies as the junior partners. The N.D.A. partners share a common ideological orientation, which is based on the promotion of Hindu nationalism, economic development, and national security. The N.D.A. also has a wide geographical presence, covering most of the states and regions of India. However, some of the N.D.A. partners have different ideological and regional interests and aspirations, which may create conflicts and tensions within the Alliance. For example, the Shiv Sena, a regional party from Maharashtra, left the N.D.A. in 2019 and formed a coalition government with the opposition parties, the Indian National Congress (I.N.C.) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), after a dispute over the chief minister’s post. The Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.), a regional party from Punjab, quit the N.D.A. in 2020 over the farm laws passed by the central government, which sparked widespread protests among the farmers. The Janata Dal (United) (J.D. (U)), a regional party from Bihar, has also expressed its dissatisfaction with the B.J.P. over the seat-sharing arrangement and the leadership issue in the state. The N.D.A. may face more challenges and defections from its allies if it fails to address its ideological and regional concerns and demands.
  • The emergence and consolidation of the opposition alliance: The opposition parties in India have formed a new alliance, called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.), to challenge the N.D.A. in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is led by the I.N.C., the main rival of the B.J.P., and comprises 28 parties, including some of the former allies of the N.D.A., such as the T.M.C., the D.M.K., the A.A.P., and others. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance claims to represent the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution and to ensure the development, inclusion, and justice of all sections of society. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance also promises to reverse or amend some of the policies and reforms of the N.D.A., such as the C.A.A., the abrogation of Article 370, the farm laws, and others. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance may pose a serious threat to the N.D.A. and may attract more allies and defectors from the N.D.A. if it manages to project a clear and credible alternative to the B.J.P. and Modi.

As the I.N.D.I.A. alliance takes shape, offering a glimmer of hope for opposition supporters, the path to the 2024 elections is riddled with uncertainties. The Alliance’s strengths, weaknesses, and the looming threats from the N.D.A. and other competitors paint a complex picture. The intricate dance of Indian politics unfolds, with the electorate eagerly watching whether the opposition can present a united front and mount a formidable challenge to the ruling N.D.A.

The I.N.D.I.A. Alliance: A Coalition Paving the Way for Development and Inclusion

In the intricate tapestry of Indian politics, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) emerged in 2023, a coalition of 14 political entities with a shared vision – to challenge the ruling N.D.A. government in the impending 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This Alliance, driven by principles of social justice, secularism, federalism, and human rights, aspires to present an alternative governance model for the diverse populace of India.

The Achievements of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance:

Since its inception in June 2023, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance has navigated a trajectory of accomplishments, forging a united front against the prevailing N.D.A. Some pivotal achievements include:

  1. Adoption of the rallying cry ‘Judega Bharat, Jeetega India,’ symbolizing the Alliance’s commitment to unifying the myriad voices of India.
  2. Establishment of a 14-member coordination committee and four working groups, spearheaded by leaders from various parties, to ensure efficient decision-making and coalition functionality.
  3. Commencement of seat-sharing discussions among alliance partners, culminating in a resolute decision to contest elections whenever possible jointly. A joint rally in Bhopal in December 2023 is poised to underscore the Alliance’s strength and unity.
  4. Launch of the Digital Public Infrastructure (D.P.I.) partnership in collaboration with the U.N., led by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance. The D.P.I. partnership aims to share India’s digital success stories globally, particularly with low and middle-income countries
  5. Advocacy on public interest issues, including opposition to the N.D.A. government’s farm laws, fuel price hikes, unemployment crisis, COVID-19 mismanagement, assaults on the Constitution and institutions, and divisive agendas.

The Future Plans of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance maps out an ambitious roadmap for the 2024 elections and beyond, hinging on a common minimum program (C.M.P.) encompassing the following pillars.

Economic Revival and Growth:

The Economic Revival and Growth Plans of I.N.D.I.An alliance is a set of initiatives and reforms that aim to boost the recovery and growth of the Indian economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance consists of nine core sectors: Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Digital, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services, Healthcare, Education and Culture. Some of the key themes and approaches of the plans are:

  • Stimulating demand by engaging all sections of society, especially the middle class, and adopting digital front-ends to drive consumption and innovation.
  • Reconfiguring supply chains by leveraging digital operations, work-from-anywhere models, and self-reliance and localization strategies.
  • Unlocking natural, financial, and data capital by easing land and other resource constraints, mobilizing savings potential, and harnessing the full potential of data.
  • Enhancing human and cultural capital by using edu-tech to drive skilling and employment, focusing on decentralized employment, and mainstreaming cultural strengths.
  • Undertaking reforms and governance by implementing land, labor, and infrastructure reforms, becoming easier to do business with, and fostering trust among government, enterprises, and citizens.
  • Focusing on sustainability by ensuring environmental sustainability and adopting performance measures that reflect social and environmental impact.

The plans are based on interviews with business, public sector, and citizen leaders, sectoral analysis, and a country-wide survey conducted by PwC India1. The report also outlines an execution approach that involves joint action, convergence between sectors and institutions, and the creation of enabling platforms. The report suggests that by adopting a full potential mindset, India can achieve a fast revival and subsequent higher growth in the medium term.

Social Welfare and Justice

The Social Welfare and Justice of I.N.D.I.alliance is a theme that reflects the Alliance’s ideology of developmentalism, inclusivity, and social justice. The Alliance, which consists of 28 political parties led by the Indian National Congress, aims to protect democratic values, promote welfare and progress, and counter what they perceive as an ideology that threatens the idea of India1. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of social welfare and justice are:

  • Implementing the Pradhan Mantri Anushuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM AJAY), a scheme that provides free coaching, scholarships, overseas education, and skill development for Scheduled Caste students and youth.
  • Strengthening the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, which is responsible for the welfare of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society, including Other Backward Classes, L.G.B.T. people, people with disabilities, older adults, and the victims of drug abuse.
  • Launching the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, a campaign to prevent and reduce substance abuse and addiction and provide rehabilitation and treatment facilities for drug users.
  • Establishing the National Portal for Transgender Persons, a platform that facilitates the issuance of identity cards, certificates, and welfare schemes for transgender people.
  • Promoting the culture and heritage of India and fostering social harmony and national integration among diverse communities and regions.

Health and Education 

The Health and Education policy of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a theme that reflects the Alliance’s commitment to improving the quality and accessibility of health and education services in India. The Alliance, which consists of 28 political parties led by the Indian National Congress, aims to provide universal health coverage, strengthen public health infrastructure, and promote innovation and research in the health sector.

The Alliance also plans to increase public spending on education, implement the National Education Policy 2020, and enhance the skills and employability of the youth. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of health and education are:

  • Implementing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), a scheme that provides health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families.
  • Launching the National Health Mission Plus (N.H.M. Plus), a program that aims to strengthen the primary health care system, improve the quality of health services, and address the gaps in human resources, drugs, and equipment.
  • Establishing the National Medical Commission (N.M.C.), a statutory body that regulates medical education and practice in India and replaces the Medical Council of India (MCI).
  • Creating the National Research Foundation (N.R.F.), an autonomous body that funds, coordinates, and promotes research and innovation across all disciplines, with a special focus on national priority areas.
  • Increasing the public expenditure on education to 6% of GDP, as recommended by the Kothari Commission and the National Education Policy 2020.
  • Implementing the National Education Policy 2020 which envisages a holistic and multidisciplinary education system that fosters critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong learning.
  • Launching the Skill India Mission, a campaign that aims to train over 40 crore people in different skills by 2022 and provide them with certification, placement, and entrepreneurship support.

Environment and Sustainability

The Environment and Sustainability of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a theme that reflects the Alliance’s vision of achieving economic growth and social development without compromising the ecological balance and natural resources of the country. The Alliance, which consists of 28 political parties led by the Indian National Congress, aims to address the challenges of climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion and promote green and clean energy, waste management, and environmental awareness. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of environment and sustainability are:

  • Implementing the National Action Plan on Climate Change (N.A.P.C.C.), a comprehensive framework that outlines measures to enhance the adaptive capacity of the country and mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Launching the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a scheme that aims to reduce the particulate matter concentration by 20-30% by 2024 and improve the air quality monitoring and management system.
  • Establishing the National Green Tribunal (N.G.T.), a statutory body that adjudicates matters relating to environmental protection and conservation of natural resources.
  • Creating the National Mission for Green India (G.I.M.), a program that aims to increase the forest and tree cover, enhance ecosystem services, and improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.
  • Increasing the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix to 40% by 2030 and achieving the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.
  • Promoting the Swachh Bharat Mission (S.B.M.), a campaign that aims to achieve the vision of a clean India by eliminating open defecation, improving sanitation, and managing solid and liquid waste.

Foreign and Security Policy

The Foreign and Security Policy of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a theme that reflects the Alliance’s aspiration to enhance India’s global role and influence and safeguard its national interests and security. The Alliance, which consists of 28 political parties led by the Indian National Congress, aims to pursue a pragmatic and balanced foreign policy based on the principles of mutual respect, cooperation, and dialogue. The Alliance also plans to modernize and strengthen the defense and security forces and address the challenges of terrorism, cyber security, and border disputes. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of foreign and security policy are:

  • Implementing the Neighbourhood First policy, which prioritizes the relations with India’s immediate neighbors, especially in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, and seeks to resolve outstanding issues through peaceful means.
  • Engaging with the major powers, such as the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and the European Union, and enhancing strategic partnerships and cooperation on various issues of mutual interest and concern.
  • Participating actively in the multilateral forums and institutions, such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the G20, the BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and advocating for the reform and democratization of the global governance system.
  • Promoting the Act East policy, which aims to deepen the economic and cultural ties with the countries of Southeast Asia and East Asia and foster a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
  • Advancing the Connect Central Asia policy, which seeks to expand the engagement and connectivity with the countries of Central Asia and explore the opportunities for trade, investment, energy, and security cooperation.
  • Supporting the Look West policy, which focuses on enhancing the relations with the countries of West Asia and the Gulf region and ensuring the welfare and safety of the Indian diaspora in these countries.
  • Increasing the defense budget to 3% of G.D.P. and allocating more funds for the modernization and procurement of defense equipment and technology.
  • Implementing the One Rank One Pension (O.R.O.P.) scheme, which grants equal pensions to retired personnel of the same rank and length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
  • Establishing the Chief of Defence Staff (C.D.S.), a four-star officer who will be the single-point military adviser to the government and the head of the newly created Department of Military Affairs.
  • Launching the National Cyber Security Strategy, which aims to protect the critical information infrastructure, combat cyber threats, and promote cyber resilience and capacity building.

Confident Vision of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

Confident in its ability to secure the trust and support of the Indian people, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance envisions itself as the harbinger of a new era in 2024. Rooted in what it perceives as the true spirit and aspirations of India, the Alliance strives to usher in an era of development and inclusion, breaking the mold of traditional politics and championing a vision for a progressive and united India.

Prospects and Challenges for Indian Democracy

In this article, we have discussed the reasons behind the formation of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, a new coalition of 28 opposition parties that aims to challenge the ruling N.D.A. government in the 2024 general elections. We have also examined the prospects and challenges of the Alliance and its implications for Indian democracy. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a significant development in the Indian political scenario, and it will have a major impact on the outcome and consequences of the next elections. 

The Alliance’s Significance:

The Alliance represents the aspirations and hopes of many Indians who are looking for a change and a better future. However, the Alliance also faces many hurdles and uncertainties that may affect its viability and credibility. The Alliance will have to prove itself as a worthy and capable contender for the power and the trust of the people. The 2024 general elections will be a crucial test for the I.N.D.I.A. alliance and the Indian democracy as a whole.

The I.N.D.I.A. Alliance: A Formidable Force Against the N.D.A.

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a coalition of political parties that have joined hands to challenge the N.D.A. government in the upcoming general elections. The Alliance consists of prominent parties such as the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Janata Dal (United), and the Samajwadi Party. These parties have different regional and social bases, but they share a common minimum program that outlines their basic principles and policies. The Alliance also has a clear and effective structure and leadership, with four main committees that guide its functioning and activities. The Alliance hopes to win the trust and support of the people of India and provide a better and brighter future for the country.

Challenges and Weaknesses

However, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is not without its challenges and weaknesses. The Alliance faces a formidable opponent in the N.D.A., which enjoys a high level of popularity and performance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The Alliance also has to deal with internal issues such as a lack of clear leadership, a lack of a coherent strategy, and a lack of trust and coordination among its partners. The Alliance has to overcome these hurdles and present itself as a viable and credible alternative to the N.D.A.

Rahul Gandhi
Dynamic Leadership: Rahul Gandhi

Strengths of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance

Geographical and Social Coverage:

One of the main strengths of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its wide geographical and social coverage. The Alliance is made up of parties that have a strong presence across key Indian states, such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Maharashtra. These states account for a large share of the parliamentary seats and the electorate. The Alliance also covers a wide range of social groups, from Dalits to religious minorities, who feel marginalized by the N.D.A.’s policies. The Alliance aims to address the grievances and aspirations of these groups and offer them a voice and representation.

Common Agenda and Ideology:

Another strength of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its common agenda and ideology. A shared agenda against the anti-people and divisive policies of the N.D.A., such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, the farm laws, and the abrogation of Article 370, unify the Alliance. The Alliance champions the values of secularism, socialism, federalism, and pluralism, which are enshrined in the Constitution and the common minimum program. The Alliance positions itself as a defender of rights and freedoms, promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

A third strength of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its experienced and charismatic leaders. The Alliance boasts of leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, and Akhilesh Yadav, who have proven governance records and mass appeal. These leaders can effectively articulate the Alliance’s vision and agenda, mobilizing support from various sections of society. They can also counter the N.D.A.’s narrative and expose its failures and shortcomings.

Weaknesses of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance:

Lack of Clear Leadership:

One of the main weaknesses of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its lack of clear leadership. The Alliance has not decided on a prime ministerial candidate or a clear leader within the coalition. This may create uncertainty and confusion among the voters, who may prefer stable and decisive leadership. It may also lead to ego clashes and power struggles among the plethora of leaders who have different ambitions and interests. The Alliance has to resolve this issue and project a united and coherent leadership.

No Coherent Strategy

Another weakness of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its lack of a coherent strategy. The Alliance currently lacks a proactive and offensive strategy against the N.D.A. It has not articulated its policies and programs clearly and convincingly, leaving room for ambiguity and criticism. The Alliance may appear as opportunistic and reactive rather than visionary and innovative. The Alliance has to devise a coherent strategy that showcases its achievements and potential and communicates its vision effectively, especially against the N.D.A.’s media dominance.

Less Trust and Coordination

A third weakness of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is its lack of trust and coordination. The Alliance faces internal rivalries, ideological differences, and a history of discord among its partners. These factors may hamper trust and coordination within the coalition, affecting its functioning and performance. The Alliance also faces the potential for defections or shifts in allegiance, whether induced by the N.D.A. or arising from dissatisfaction within the Alliance. The Alliance has to overcome these challenges and ensure loyalty and harmony among its partners.

Threats from the N.D.A. and Other Competitors:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
isionary Leadership: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Popularity and Performance of the N.D.A.

One of the main threats to the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is the N.D.A.’s popularity and performance. The N.D.A. enjoys a high level of popularity and support, largely due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and charisma. The N.D.A. also claims to have delivered on its promises and initiatives, such as bold policy moves and effective pandemic management. 

The N.D.A.’s vision for the future, encompassing initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Digital India, may resonate with aspirational and young voters, who form a significant segment of the electorate.

Competition from Other Parties and Alliances

Another threat to the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is the competition from other parties and alliances, such as the Third Front, the United Progressive Alliance, and the regional parties. These parties and alliances may pose a challenge to the I.N.D.I.A. alliance’s bid to consolidate the anti-N.D.A. vote and expand its base. They may also offer alternative or better options to the voters, who may be dissatisfied with both the N.D.A. and the I.N.D.I.A. alliance. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance has to contend with these competitors and establish its distinct identity and appeal.

The I.N.D.I.A. Alliance’s Dynamics

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a formidable and diverse coalition that has emerged as a major challenger to the N.D.A. government in the upcoming general elections. The Alliance has several strengths, such as its wide geographical and social coverage, its common agenda and ideology, and its experienced and charismatic leaders. However, the Alliance also has several weaknesses, such as its lack of clear leadership, its lack of a coherent strategy, and its lack of trust and coordination. The Alliance also faces several threats, such as the N.D.A.’s popularity and performance and the competition from other parties and alliances. The Alliance has to leverage its potential and overcome its challenges to achieve its goals and provide a better and brighter future for the country.

The N.D.A.’s Resources and Organization

The N.D.A. is a formidable political coalition that has been ruling India since 2014 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the B.J.P. The N.D.A. has several advantages over the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, such as the popularity and charisma of its leader, the ideological and regional cohesion of its partners, and the policy and governance performance of its incumbents.

One of the main advantages of the N.D.A. is the popularity and charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is widely seen as a strong and decisive leader who has a loyal and devoted following among the masses, especially the Hindu majority. Modi is also known for his effective use of social media and digital platforms to communicate his vision and achievements. He has a personal brand that appeals to various sections of society, such as the youth, women, people with low incomes, and the middle class. Modi is the face and the voice of the N.D.A., and he has a significant influence over the voters and the media.

Another advantage of the N.D.A. is the ideological and regional cohesion of its partners. The N.D.A. is a relatively stable and unified alliance, with the B.J.P. as the dominant partner and the other allies as the junior partners. The N.D.A. partners share a common ideological orientation, which is based on the promotion of Hindu nationalism, economic development, and national security. The N.D.A. also has a wide geographical presence, covering most of the states and regions of India. The N.D.A. has a strong network of cadres and workers who work in coordination with the central and state governments.

A third advantage of the N.D.A. is the policy and governance performance of its incumbents. The N.D.A. has been in power for two consecutive terms and has implemented various policies and reforms, such as the G.S.T., the demonetization, the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Make in India initiative, and others. The N.D.A. claims that these policies and reforms have improved the economic growth, social welfare, and national security of the country. The N.D.A. has also managed to handle some of the major challenges and crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the border tensions with China, and the global economic slowdown.

However, the N.D.A. also has some disadvantages and weaknesses, such as the criticism and opposition to some of its policies and actions, the erosion of democracy, secularism, and human rights, and the rising unemployment, inflation, and poverty. The N.D.A. has to overcome these challenges and counter the allegations and accusations of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance and other competitors. The N.D.A. has to prove that it is the best choice for the future of India.

The N.D.A.’s Allies and Defectors:

Popularity and Performance of the B.J.P.:

One of the primary factors influencing the allies and defectors of the N.D.A. is the popularity and performance of the B.J.P., the dominant partner in the coalition. With 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the parliament, the B.J.P. under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership has garnered significant support, especially among the Hindu majority. The implementation of policies like the G.S.T., demonetization, Ayushman Bharat scheme, and others has contributed to this popularity. However, the B.J.P. faces criticism for actions such as the C.A.A., the abrogation of Article 370, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about democratic erosion. These factors may impact the N.D.A.’s ability to retain allies and counter opposition challenges.

Ideological and Regional Diversity:

While the N.D.A. presents itself as a stable and unified alliance with the B.J.P. as the dominant partner, ideological and regional diversity among its members could pose challenges. The alliance promotes Hindu nationalism, economic development, and national security as common ideologies, but some partners may have divergent regional interests. Instances like the Shiv Sena leaving the N.D.A. in 2019 over the chief ministerial dispute in Maharashtra and the S.A.D. quitting in 2020 due to disagreements on farm laws highlight potential conflicts. The N.D.A. needs to address these concerns to prevent further ideological and regional defections.

Competition and Cooperation with Other Parties:

The N.D.A. faces competition and cooperation from various parties and alliances like the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, the Third Front, the United Progressive Alliance, and regional parties. The strategies and objectives of these entities will determine whether they pose a threat or an opportunity for the N.D.A. They may challenge the N.D.A.’s efforts to consolidate votes and expand its base, offering alternatives to dissatisfied voters. Simultaneously, collaboration with other parties before or after elections could shape the political landscape. Navigating these dynamics is crucial for the N.D.A. to maintain its distinct identity and appeal.

The Emergence and Consolidation of the Opposition Alliance:

Formation and Leadership

The opposition parties in India have formed a new alliance, called the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, to challenge the N.D.A. in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is led by the I.N.C., the main rival of the B.J.P., and comprises 28 parties, including some of the former allies of the N.D.A., such as the T.M.C., the D.M.K., the A.A.P., and others. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance claims to represent the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution and to ensure the development, inclusion, and justice of all sections of society. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance also promises to reverse or amend some of the policies and reforms of the N.D.A., such as the C.A.A., the abrogation of Article 370, the farm laws, and others. The I.N.D.I.A. alliance may pose a serious threat to the N.D.A. and may attract more allies and defectors from the N.D.A. if it manages to project a clear and credible alternative to the B.J.P. and Modi.

One of the main achievements of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is the adoption of the rallying cry ‘Judega Bharat, Jeetega India,’ symbolizing the Alliance’s commitment to unifying the myriad voices of India. The Alliance has also established a 14-member coordination committee and four working groups spearheaded by leaders from various parties to ensure efficient decision-making and coalition functionality. The Alliance has commenced seat-sharing discussions among alliance partners, culminating in a resolute decision to contest elections whenever possible jointly. A joint rally in Bhopal in December 2023 is poised to underscore the Alliance’s strength and unity. The Alliance has also launched the D.P.I. partnership in collaboration with the U.N., led by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance. The D.P.I. partnership aims to share India’s digital success stories globally, particularly with low and middle-income countries. The Alliance has also advocated public interest issues, including opposition to the N.D.A. government’s farm laws, fuel price hikes, unemployment crisis, COVID-19 mismanagement, assaults on the Constitution and institutions, and divisive agendas.

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance maps out an ambitious roadmap for the 2024 elections and beyond, hinging on a common minimum program (C.M.P.) encompassing the following pillars:

  • Secularism: The Alliance vows to uphold the secular fabric of India and to protect the rights and interests of all religious minorities. The Alliance opposes the C.I.A. and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (N.R.C.), which it considers discriminatory and unconstitutional. The Alliance also supports the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and the release of all political prisoners in the region.
  • Federalism: The Alliance advocates for a greater devolution of power and resources to the states and the regions, respecting the diversity and autonomy of India. The Alliance opposes the centralization and interference of the N.D.A. government in the affairs of the states and the regions. The Alliance also supports the demand for statehood for Delhi and the resolution of the border disputes among the states.
  • Social Justice: The Alliance champions the cause of social justice and empowerment of the marginalized and oppressed sections of society, such as the Dalits, the Adivasis, the backward classes, the women, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. The Alliance promises to implement the Pradhan Mantri Anushuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana, a scheme to provide financial assistance and reservation to the Scheduled Castes. The Alliance also promises to enact the Women’s Reservation Bill, a bill to reserve 33% of the seats in the parliament and the state legislatures for women.
  • Economic Development: The Alliance aims to revive the economy and create employment opportunities for the youth, who are facing a severe crisis of unemployment, underemployment, and low wages. The Alliance promises to implement the National Health Mission Plus, a scheme to provide universal health coverage and free COVID-19 vaccines to all. The Alliance also promises to implement the National Research Foundation, a scheme to boost research and innovation in various fields.
  • Environmental Protection: The alliance pledges to protect the environment and combat climate change, which poses a grave threat to the survival and well-being of the people and the planet. The Alliance promises to implement the Skill India Mission, a scheme to provide skill development and green jobs to the youth. The Alliance also promises to implement the National Clean Air Program, a scheme to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the cities.

The Future Plans of the I.N.D.I.A. Alliance:

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance maps out an ambitious roadmap for the 2024 elections and beyond, hinging on a common minimum program (C.M.P.) encompassing the following pillars:

  • Economic Revival and Growth: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance has a set of initiatives and reforms that aim to boost the recovery and growth of the Indian economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance focuses on nine core sectors: Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Digital, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services, Healthcare, Education and Culture. Some of the key themes and approaches of the plans are:
    • Stimulating demand by engaging all sections of society, especially the middle class, and adopting digital front-ends to drive consumption and innovation.
    • Reconfiguring supply chains by leveraging digital operations, work-from-anywhere models, and self-reliance and localization strategies.
    • Unlocking natural, financial, and data capital by easing land and other resource constraints, mobilizing savings potential, and harnessing the full potential of data.
    • Enhancing human and cultural capital by using edu-tech to drive skilling and employment, focusing on decentralized employment, and mainstreaming cultural strengths.
    • Undertaking reforms and governance by implementing land, labor, and infrastructure reforms, becoming easier to do business with, and fostering trust among government, enterprises, and citizens.
    • Focusing on sustainability by ensuring environmental sustainability and adopting performance measures that reflect social and environmental impact.
    • The plans are based on interviews with business, public sector, and citizen leaders, sectoral analysis, and a country-wide survey conducted by PwC India. The report also outlines an execution approach that involves joint action, convergence between sectors and institutions, and the creation of enabling platforms. The report suggests that by adopting a full potential mindset, India can achieve a fast revival and subsequent higher growth in the medium term.
  • Social Welfare and Justice: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance reflects the Alliance’s ideology of developmentalism, inclusivity, and social justice. The Alliance aims to protect democratic values, promote welfare and progress, and counter what they perceive as an ideology that threatens the idea of India. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of social welfare and justice are:
  • Implementing the Pradhan Mantri Anushuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM AJAY), a scheme that provides free coaching, scholarships, overseas education, and skill development for Scheduled Caste students and youth.
  • Strengthening the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, which is responsible for the welfare of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society, including Other Backward Classes, L.G.B.T. people, people with disabilities, older adults, and the victims of drug abuse.
  • Launching the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, a campaign to prevent and reduce substance abuse and addiction and provide rehabilitation and treatment facilities for drug users.
  • Establishing the National Portal for Transgender Persons, a platform that facilitates the issuance of identity cards, certificates, and welfare schemes for transgender people.
  • Promoting the culture and heritage of India and fostering social harmony and national integration among diverse communities and regions.
  • Health and Education: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is committed to improving the quality and accessibility of health and education services in India. The Alliance aims to provide universal health coverage, strengthen public health infrastructure, and promote innovation and research in the health sector. The Alliance also plans to increase public spending on education, implement the National Education Policy 2020, and enhance the skills and employability of the youth. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of health and education are:
  • Implementing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), a scheme that provides health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families.
  • Launching the National Health Mission Plus (N.H.M. Plus), a program that aims to strengthen the primary health care system, improve the quality of health services, and address the gaps in human resources, drugs, and equipment.
  • Establishing the National Medical Commission (N.M.C.), a statutory body that regulates medical education and practice in India and replaces the Medical Council of India (MCI).
  • Creating the National Research Foundation (N.R.F.), an autonomous body that funds, coordinates, and promotes research and innovation across all disciplines, with a special focus on national priority areas.
  • Increasing the public expenditure on education to 6% of GDP, as recommended by the Kothari Commission and the National Education Policy 2020.
  • Implementing the National Education Policy 2020 which envisages a holistic and multidisciplinary education system that fosters critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong learning.
  • Launching the Skill India Mission, a campaign that aims to train over 40 crore people in different skills by 2022 and provide them with certification, placement, and entrepreneurship support.
  • Environment and Sustainability: The I.N.D.I.A. alliance envisions a future of economic growth and social development without compromising the ecological balance and natural resources of the country. The Alliance aims to address the challenges of climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion and promote green and clean energy, waste management, and environmental awareness. Some of the initiatives and reforms that the Alliance proposes to undertake in the domain of environment and sustainability are:
    • Implementing the National Action Plan on Climate Change (N.A.P.C.C.), a comprehensive framework that outlines measures to enhance the adaptive capacity of the country and mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Launching the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a scheme that aims to reduce the particulate matter concentration by 20-30% by 2024 and improve the air quality monitoring and management system.
  • Establishing the National Green Tribunal (N.G.T.), a statutory body that adjudicates matters relating to environmental protection and conservation of natural resources.
  • Creating the National Mission for Green India (G.I.M.), a program that aims to increase the forest and tree cover, enhance ecosystem services, and improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.
  • Increasing the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix to 40% by 2030 and achieving the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.
  • Promoting the Swachh Bharat Mission (S.B.M.), a campaign that aims to achieve the vision of a clean India by eliminating open defecation, improving sanitation, and managing solid and liquid waste.

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance is a new political phenomenon that has emerged in the Indian political landscape, offering a glimmer of hope for the opposition and a challenge for the ruling N.D.A. The Alliance, which consists of 28 parties led by the I.N.C., aims to represent the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution and to ensure the development, inclusion, and justice of all sections of society. The Alliance has a common minimum program that outlines its basic principles and policies, such as secularism, federalism, social justice, and economic development. The Alliance also has a clear and effective structure and leadership, with four main committees that guide its functioning and activities.

However, the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is not without its challenges and weaknesses. The Alliance faces a formidable opponent in the N.D.A., which enjoys a high level of popularity and performance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The Alliance also has to deal with internal issues such as a lack of clear leadership, a lack of a coherent strategy, and a lack of trust and coordination among its partners. The Alliance has to overcome these hurdles and present itself as a viable and credible alternative to the N.D.A.

The 2024 general elections will be a crucial test for the I.N.D.I.A. alliance and the Indian democracy as a whole. The Alliance will have to prove its ability to secure the trust and support of the Indian people and to usher in a new era of development and inclusion. The Alliance will also have to contend with the threats and opportunities from the N.D.A. and other competitors and collaborators. The Alliance envisions itself as the harbinger of a new era in 2024, breaking the mold of traditional politics and championing a vision for a progressive and united India.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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