Farooq Abdullah-led NC gives jolt to INDIA bloc, Cong’s troubles far from over

Farooq Abdullah-led NC gives jolt to INDIA bloc, Cong’s troubles far from over
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New Delhi, February 15:  In yet another setback for the opposition INDIA bloc, the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference (NC) on Thursday announced to go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to reporters in Srinagar, Abdullah said his party will not enter into any pre-poll alliance, either in the Parliamentary or Assembly elections in J&K.

The announcement put an end to all speculation about seat-sharing between the NC and the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir (four seats) and Ladakh (one seat).

Notably, the NC has been a key constituent of the INDIA bloc and its octogenarian leader Farooq Abdullah, in the last few months, rallied with the alliance partners to ‘stonewall’ BJP’s ascent to power for a record third time.

The central leadership of the Congress also suffered a sort of jolt after Sonia Gandhi, the architect of UPA 1 and UPA 2 governments, bid goodbye to Lok Sabha elections.

The party’s Delhi unit looks in a ‘pitiable’ state and not in a condition to challenge the (Narendra) Modi bandwagon. It is evident from the fact that Ajay Maken, once the face of Delhi Congress, has been fielded for the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka.

NC's announcement to go solo comes as another ‘direct’ blow to the Congress-led alliance.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Punjab unit have already abandoned the Congress on grounds that if the ‘weak and insipid’ party fields candidates from their strongholds, it will do more harm to the Opposition than hurting BJP’s prospects.

The first and biggest body-blow to the INDIA bloc came from the alliance’s chief architect Nitish Kumar.

Miffed over Congress ‘riding roughshod’ over the smaller allies, the Bihar CM made his displeasure public but that went unaddressed. The ‘sulking’ Nitish Kumar gave the first jolt to the bloc by walking out of the alliance. It didn’t just weaken the bloc, but also resulted in the collapse of the Congress-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’ from power in Bihar.

Days ago, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had derided and mocked the Congress before declining to share any seats with the Congress in West Bengal.

Taunting the grand old party over its below-par performance in the recent polls, she initially offered two seats, but when the latter tried to bargain hard, Banerjee outrightly denied any seat, saying she doubts "the party would even win even 40 seats in the 2024 elections".

In Punjab, the Bhagwant Mann-led government also refused to give any seat to the Congress, saying that it ‘risks’ losing seats if it declares collaboration with the grand old party.

AAP’s Delhi unit also panned the Congress while declaring its six candidates and leaving one seat for the Congress. It also mentioned that the Congress doesn’t deserve even a single seat on merit basis.

"Congress has zero Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, it has zero seats in Delhi Assembly. Out of 250 wards, Congress won only nine seats in the 2022 MCD elections,” said BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala.

Moreover, INDIA bloc’s hopes of good poll outcome in the Hindi heartland also stay shattered as Bihar’s ‘Mahagathbandhan’ no longer exists, while in Uttar Pradesh, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has left the SP-Congress combine in the lurch.

Also, Akhilesh has kept the Congress on a tight leash, not agreeing on even 10 seats for it.

In Maharashtra, the Congress-led Maha Vikas Agahi (MVA) was a formidable force until the breakaway faction of Shiv Sena and NCP turned the grouping into a ‘fragile unit’. Congress' big faces like Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora have also switched sides to the BJP.

While Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra seeks to galvanise the similar forces for giving a big fight to the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, every passing month is mounting more challenges than solutions for the INDIA bloc.

(The content of this article is sourced from a news agency and has not been edited by the ap7am team.)

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