Congress Could Challenge BJP in India's 2024 General Election, Pundit Believes

© REUTERS / RUPAK DE CHOWDHURIPolling officials check election materials after collecting them from a distribution centre ahead of the first phase of West Bengal state assembly election, in Purulia district, India, March 26, 2021
Polling officials check election materials after collecting them from a distribution centre ahead of the first phase of West Bengal state assembly election, in Purulia district, India, March 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2021
With legislative assembly polls in India's Uttar Pradesh only a few months away, Congress has stepped up its preparations to regain power in the state after almost three decades.Sputnik spoke to political expert Sanjeev Kaushik about the party's election strategy.
India’s main opposition party Congress is campaigning aggressively for the crucial state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. The party’s General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is leading from the front and leaving no stone unturned amid efforts to defeat ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Sputnik: The former allies of Congress like Trinamool Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal are now with Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. what do you think about this?
Sanjeev Kaushik: The performance of Congress in the Uttar Pradesh elections will totally depend on its strategy. Any alliance won’t have an impact on Congress. Rather I think the parties like TMC should do an analysis about their stand in the state. Though it has roped in a lot of Congress politicians but are they so influential that they can bring the voters in the party’s favour?
Apart from this, it is important to see how TMC's strategy to sideline Congress and become the main Opposition party to lead the fight against BJP works. It is important to understand who you are fighting against.
If the opposition parties have to fight against the BJP then they have to include Congress. It will be difficult for other parties to take on the BJP without Congress.
Sputnik: Shiv Sena has strongly supported Congress while TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee almost sidelined it during her visit to Maharashtra. Do you think it will be beneficial for Congress if it tries to form an alliance with the parties like Shiv Sena in Uttar Pradesh?
Sanjeev Kaushik: It is very interesting to see that Shiv Sena is strongly backing up Congress. This will surely give a strong message to the other parties as well as the ruling BJP. However, I don’t think that this will have an impact on Uttar Pradesh elections.
We also have to understand that Shiv Sena has been in alliance with the BJP for almost three decades therefore it understands the strong points as well as the weak points of each other.
Shiv Sena understands that in order to make a mark at national level politics it has to come out of the shadow of the BJP and Congress also understands that it needs partners which can help them in fighting against the BJP through a well-planned strategy.
Sputnik: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched a "manifesto for women" in the state. Do you think Congress’ strategy to give priority to women will help it?
Sanjeev Kaushik: Well, the manifesto presented by Congress should be applauded but it's doubtful that this will really help the party in improving its performance.
One thing is definite that the way Congress has kept women in the forefront will somewhat ring an alarm bell for other parties. Now the other parties will also have to think about giving more representation to the women.
However, I believe that Congress is too late to do this. Had they taken up the issues of the women earlier, it would have been much beneficial for them.
Sputnik: Do you think Congress will find new partners to strengthen its position and take on BJP in the 2024 parliamentary elections?
Sanjeev Kaushik: This is evident that Congress is preparing for 2024 general elections. The party has witnessed many problems in recent times. But we must not forget that it is the country’s oldest party and has a strong voter base.
Despite several members leaving the party, it still has the potential to take on the BJP.
I think the way the party is working aggressively in states like Uttar Pradesh, it won’t be a surprise if Congress leads the fight against the BJP very strongly in the 2024 parliamentary elections.
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