New Delhi: The recently concluded Assembly polls that saw the BJP win three states will not impact the INDIA bloc but the opposition parties need to work harder for the Lok Sabha polls next year, opposition leaders said on Monday.
The BJP swept Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on Sunday, inflicting a resounding defeat on the Congress to tighten its stranglehold in the Hindi heartland, in a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and setting the tone for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
In some consolation for the Congress in the face of the saffron wave after it lost Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the party ousted the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Telangana.
A day after the results, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah said the opposition INDIA bloc parties will have to work harder.
Asked about the results and its possible impact on the alliance, he said, “It will make no difference to the alliance. We will have to work harder.” “Victories and losses happen. We should learn from the defeat, as well as from those who have won. India has to be one, it is for everyone, and we need to strengthen the country,” the NC leader said.
Asked about the Samajwadi Party not being accommodated in Madhya Pradesh by the Congress while announcing its candidates for the state and its possible impact on the results, Abdullah said, “All will have to be accommodated and we will have to move forward.” Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha also said the results will not impact the alliance. “These were state polls. These should be left behind. National elections will be held on different issues. It (Assembly poll results) will not have any impact, everyone will have to understand the unity of the INDIA bloc… there is no contradiction,” he said.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said his party will introspect on what went wrong in the polls and maintained that it will not impact the opposition grouping. All opposition parties attended the meeting at Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s office in Parliament on Monday morning, he said. On the issue of SP not being made an alliance partner in Madhya Pradesh, Venugopal said, “They have the freedom to complain and some complaints may be genuine too. We will examine and make required corrections.” Meanwhile, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) MP Chirag Paswan blamed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the caste survey held in Bihar responsible for the loss. Paswan joined the BJP-led NDA in July.
“The opposition was making self goals and it is Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who has caused maximum damage to the INDI Alliance. The comments he made against women, the kind of remarks they made against Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes leaders… the kind of remarks made against former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi impacted them,” he said. “Their own policy backfired. Their leaders said they would conduct caste surveys. But the people of those states realised that there were discrepancies in the caste survey in Bihar… This affected the alliance and I believe Nitish Kumar is the main reason for the damage to the INDI Alliance,” Paswan said.