The “I.N.D.I.A” alliance, composed of 28 opposition parties, has adopted a well-thought-out strategy of keeping their narrative “anti-Modi” as they prepare for the upcoming general elections.
Mani Shankar Aiyar, a Congress member and former Minister of Panchayati Raj, said the importance of countering the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even though the ruling BJP has a smaller share of public support.
Aiyar stated, “Therefore, the targeting is just perfect. Also, so many of his claims are simply bogus, which must be brought to light by I.N.D.I.A through intense campaigns. The alliance should provide exciting alternatives that will ignite public opinion.”
The veteran Congressman expressed his satisfaction with the formation of the alliance, highlighting the significance of Sonia Gandhi’s participation in the Mumbai conclave, stating that she has been instrumental in inspiring various political parties to unite.
He addressed the timing of the alliance’s formation, explaining that there was a sense of the BJP being unbeatable, leading to a delay in opposition parties coming together. “As far as the timing is concerned, I feel sometimes the paucity of time can be a positive element as it can ascertain quick decisions,” he told IANS.
Aiyar acknowledged the extensive network of ground workers and booth managers that the BJP and RSS have established, both in urban and rural areas, along with a feedback mechanism. He attributed the Congress’s inability to match this organization to cumulative failures over the years.
Regarding the perception that the Congress is reluctant to promote young leaders, Aiyar countered, “I think that is total rubbish,” and cited the examples of Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had opportunities but faced challenges within their respective states.
Aiyar shared his perspective on Prashant Kishor, saying that Kishor expressed interest in rebuilding the Congress but demanded a place in the hierarchy, which was unacceptable. Aiyar questioned Kishor’s impact, especially after the West Bengal Assembly polls, which saw Mamata Banerjee’s victory.
Aiyar also attributed the Congress’s recent loss in the Punjab Assembly polls to Kishor’s advice, emphasizing that his influence was overrated.
Despite Rajasthan’s history of changing state governments every five years, Aiyar expressed confidence in the Congress retaining power, while he pointed out divisions within the BJP in the state. He also highlighted the popularity of the Congress-led government in Chhattisgarh and the memory of the BJP’s toppling of the elected government in Madhya Pradesh.
Regarding the leader of the I.N.D.I.A Alliance, Aiyar suggested that the decision should be a collective one. He noted the rise in popularity ratings for Rahul Gandhi after the “Bharat Jodo” yatra and concluded, “The alliance will be his true test.”