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INDI Alliance did well, but BJP is still stronger: Why Congress insulting the BJP is hilarious

Congress' conduct after the election results is like that of a student who had given up all hopes of passing the examination but finds that they have somehow narrowly scraped through and then goes and thumbs their nose at the class topper who is disappointed for scoring less than their expectations.

On Tuesday (June 4), the emerging trends from the 2024 Lok Sabha elections had taken almost everyone by surprise. The BJP, which the exit polls predicted to be perched comfortably beyond the 300-seat mark, struggled to reach the majority (272), while the INDI alliance punched above their weight and showed they are still in the fight against the hot favourites.

As the afternoon wore down, trends started solidifying, placing the saffron party at around the 240-seat mark, 32 less than the absolute majority required to stake a claim at the government in the centre. But with its NDA partners, the BJP was comfortably well past the majority mark. The INDI alliance defied predictions and showed impressive gains, chiefly led by the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

Consequently, while the NDA settled around the 290-295 mark, the INDI alliance managed to bag more than 230 seats, a stunning reversal for an alliance that had bundled up with less than 150 seats in the 2019 general elections. Congress is currently leading on 99 seats, Samajwadi Party on 37, and Trinamool Congress on 29.

The BJP, on the other hand, emerged as the single-biggest party in the elections, leading on 240 seats on its own. The feat is impressive given that it came after 10 years of being in the government, beating anti-incumbency, voter apathy, and propaganda led by left-leaning media portals. The saffron party has created history and will be forming a government at the Centre.

However, even as the NDA emerged victorious arithmetically, the Congress party, which struggled to reach three-figure and will remain in the opposition for the third consecutive term, claimed victory (perhaps for having stopped the NDA from crossing 400) and attacked the BJP for not being able to secure a majority on its own.

Even as the BJP is all set to form a government at the Centre with the help of its NDA alliance partner, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge proclaimed it to be Modi’s moral and political defeat citing the lack of a decisive mandate to a single party.

“The people did not give a clear majority to one single party. The BJP sought votes for a single person. The mandate is against Modiji,” Kharge said at a Press conference on Tuesday evening.

However, it is incredibly amusing that a party that continues to remain content sitting in the opposition and playing second, and often third fiddle to regional parties, gloat about their performance which had no discernible impact on their status in the parliament and mock their opponents which are once again set to return to the Centre. The BJP, even with a reduced majority, created history by coming back to power for the third time in a row.

In this election, the Congress party along with opposition parties that were a part of the INDI alliance did veritably well. They managed to restrict the BJP below the majority mark and sent more numbers of MP to the parliament than they did in 2014 and 2019. But the BJP is still in the pole position and is all set to form a government at the Centre. They have won more than twice the number of legislators in the Lok Sabha than Congress’ number of seats. This means all this euphoria and gloating about creating a dent in the BJP’s tally hasn’t affected them electorally. Yes, it may affect them politically, as coalition partners will assert themselves, but the BJP has demonstrated its ability to accommodate its coalition partner for the sake of governance. 

Of course, the BJP hasn’t done well as per its and people’s expectations. They ought to have scored the majority on their own to avoid being left at the vicissitudes of their coalition partners. But if there is one party that would deep dive into where it went wrong and draw lessons from it to course correct, it is the BJP. We saw that happening after the Karnataka state elections when the BJP was decimated due to internal feuds and disastrous decision-making that alienated the BJP’s core voter base. 

In the subsequent assembly elections, BJP did not allow its mistakes in Karnataka to be replicated elsewhere as its poll machinery rolled on smoothly, beating expectations and registering impressive victories in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Nevertheless, one can also blame the BJP for today’s result for shifting the baseline to such an extent that even winning 240 seats on its own had left its supporters disappointed and distraught. A decade ago, any BJP supporter and leader would have happily accepted and deemed 240 seats as a landmark victory for the party. But in 2024, the expectations are such that anything short of a full majority is regarded as an utter failure of the party. Perhaps by this yardstick, it will take a long time for the Congress party to form a government at the Centre with an absolute majority.

Moreover, Congress is also averse to course correction as evident with the three successive electoral defeats in general elections. The party is still led by the Gandhi scion, although he is not the president, but for all practical purposes calls the shots in the Congress party. Instead of introspecting on its failure, Congress has busied itself mocking and gloating over the BJP’s reduced strength in the parliament.

Congress’ conduct after the election results is like that of a student who had given up all hopes of passing the examination but finds that they have somehow narrowly scraped through and then goes and thumbs their nose at the class topper who is disappointed for scoring less than their expectations. It is hilarious to see Congress claiming victory and ridiculing the BJP while they warm the opposition benches for another 5 years of the Modi government. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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