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Updated February 8th, 2024 at 09:46 IST

INDI Alliance Falling Apart: Latest Tussle In Jammu and Kashmir After Bengal, Punjab & Bihar

This comes days after Nitish Kumar, who was credited for stitching the alliance together, dumped the INDI bloc and jumped to the BJP-led NDA.

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Mehbooba Mufti (left) and Omar Abdullah (right)
Mehbooba Mufti (left) and Omar Abdullah (right) | Image: PTI/File
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Rift in INDI Alliance: After National Conference Leader and Jammu Kashmir’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah claimed that discussions will only be held on 3 out of 6 parliamentary seats within the Opposition bloc, Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has staked claim on the seats suggesting that the party has a better hold. 

Responding to Abdullah, PDP said that votes polled by any party must be the decisive factor in the allocation of seats within the alliance. The Opposition’s rainbow coalition- INDI alliance- constituted to take over the BJP in the upcoming general elections, is yet to arrive on a consensus on the seat sharing within the alliance partners. 

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PDP spokesperson Varinder Singh Son emphasized that both PDP and NC are part of the INDI alliance for a broader purpose- saving the country and constitution. The decision-making process regarding seat-sharing must be undertaken collectively within the alliance, he said. 

Congress too rejected Abdullah on discussing just three seats which are currently with the BJP. Congress leader Ravinder Sharma said that discussions would encompass all six seats. The decision making body of the alliance helmed by Mukul Wasnik will take the final decision, said Sharma. 

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Discussion only on 3 seats held by BJP: Abdullah 

Omar Abduallah on Wednesday claimed that talks within the Congress-led INDI bloc will only be held on three parliamentary seats which were won by the BJP in the last elections from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. 

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"There has been no talk on seat-sharing (within the INDI alliance) so far. Congress is ready for the talks and they want us to talk to them. In the coming days, there will be a discussion, especially about the three seats (Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh) which are with the BJP,” said Omar Abdullah. “We have won the Jammu seat once and Ladakh more than once. We will sit and discuss which formula we should adopt so that we are able to get back the seats which are with BJP at present,” he added. 

The National Conference (NC) which had won all the three parliamentary seats from Kashmir – Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag – in the 2019 elections, while Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) drew blank. However, PDP had swept the last assembly elections. 

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INDI falls state by state 

The problems seem to be unending for the Opposition’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive (INDI) Alliance, as the two key players in Jammu and Kashmir are engaged in a war of words over the issue of seat sharing. This comes days after Nitish Kumar, who was credited for stitching the alliance together, dumped the INDI bloc and jumped to the BJP-led NDA. 

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Earlier, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that TMC will go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Banerjee had made the announcements citing disagreement with the Congress over seat-sharing issue.

"I had given them (Congress) a proposal (on seat sharing) but they refused it at the outset. Our party has now decided to go it alone in Bengal," said Mamata Banerjee. The Congress, meanwhile, said no one can imagine the existence of the opposition INDIA bloc without Banerjee.

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Further, while the Aam Aadmi Party is indulged with the Congress party under the INDI’s banner at the national level, Bhagwant Mann has claimed that AAP will contest on all the Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. 

Punjab accounts for 13 Lok Sabha seats. Asked if it was clear that the AAP will not have an electoral alliance with the Congress, Bhagwant Mann said, "We are not going with them (Congress)." 

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress won eight seats, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its erstwhile ally BJP two each and the AAP one. Mann and several AAP leaders have made known their opposition to any truck with the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls.

Things not looking good in UP as well 

With triple shocker to the INDI alliance and the ongoing tussle over seat sharing, the future of the Opposition bloc helmed by the Congress party doesn’t look good in Uttar Pradesh as well. Samajwadi Party chief unilaterally announced 11 seats for the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha 2024. Caught off guard, Congress leaders said that seat-sharing talks with the Samajwadi party are still on. 

The equations between Samajwadi Party and the Congress has not been well with Akhilesh blaming the Congress for not allying with smaller parties after it lost three states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

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Published February 8th, 2024 at 09:46 IST

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