India is now very soon going to witness a general election which only promises to be a power-packed competition between the party in power the Bhartiya Janata Party and a big tent of opposition parties that have come together under the acronym I.N.D.I.A that stands for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.
Contemporary Indian politics is all about the flaring display of symbolism that reaches the roots of mass appeal. Politics of optics and symbolism has been the center point of all governmental activities that are done with all sorts of intents but more specifically to garnish and maintain mass popularity. The widespread use of politics of optics and symbolism has just multiplied many folds from 2014 onwards. The role of electronic, print, and digital media cannot be undermined in making politics of optics and symbolism reach the farthest part of rural India. India is now very soon going to witness a general election which only promises to be a power-packed competition between the party in power the Bhartiya Janata Party and a big tent of opposition parties that have come together under the acronym I.N.D.I.A that stands for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance. It is a big tent political alliance of 26 political parties in India led by the Indian National Congress. The alliance promises to stand for the true meaning and realization of India as we have cherished through our post-independence historical legacy. The alliance aims to focus on our socio-economic and political composite diversity and raise some triggering concerns of the present times like rising inflation, poverty, unemployment, and communal & ethnic tensions amongst different communities.
The current dispensation is set to complete its 2 consecutive terms in 2024 and we are grappling with the rising economic inflation, lowering standards of democratic principles and constitutional institutions. The opposition alliance is aiming to raise these triggering concerns for circling the dispensation with some onus of accountability but if one looks deeper into the formation of this alliance it can be seen as heavily entangled in the web of complexities and unattended stiffness between the 26 political parties that have come together under the alliance called I.N.D.I.A. The unattended stiffness and complexities become very much apparent when one takes a closer look at the political dynamics of these political parties at a regional level. An easy glance from Delhi, Punjab, UP, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu to Jammu & Kashmir will suggest the inertia of possibilities in this alliance to make a ground-level difference in 2024.
While the opposition alliance aspires to give a jolt to the BJP’s hefty majority spell in 2024, some concerns become much more obvious to address for the alliance. The obvious concern of who will lead the alliance in the 2024 general election as a projected candidate for PM. Now some of the obvious response to this concern will be that we are a parliamentary democracy and we elect our representatives to the lower house of the parliament but let’s get real and face the obvious trends that has transcended post-2014. BJP has been successful in changing this perceived notion at least at the national level if not so much so at the regional level. The political tide has certainly drifted toward personality-driven politics. When was the last times political party in power appeared for votes on the merit of its performance? Going by the evident track record from 2014 till the present day it has been the personality of our honorable Prime Minister harnessing the image of his political party. The alliance will have to arrive at a pragmatic consensus for the projection of a ‘Prime Ministerial’ candidate. Even if the alliance partners can set aside their differences at the regional level, the decision regarding who will lead the caravan is going to be a slippery walk ahead.
Talking about some positives of the alliance formed, one can see a great transformation in the image building of Rahul Gandhi in the last two and half years. The transformation has yielded some positive responses and apprise in praise from different corners of the country. The Bharat jodo yatra and one-to-one connect with various depressed sections of society has certainly helped him gain some momentum in front of the Modi wave. However, it will be too early to raise a flag in victory as the storm is yet to settle down. While Rahul Gandhi has been actively vocal about his concerns regarding rising inflation, communal unrest, ethnic clashes, and foreign matters about China and Pakistan it is the alliance as well that will have to spell either now or later about how much of leader do they see in Rahul Gandhi for their newly formed alliance called I.N.D.I.A. Till then the alliance just looks a good figment of imagination that is making a desperate attempt to turn into reality.
The Author is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
(Views Expressed Are Personal)
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