ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

'INDIA' Meeting: How did Alliance Escape a Landmine? What Will Happen in Mumbai?

This is the first meeting of the INDIA coalition in an NDA-ruled state. What's likely to be discussed?

Published
Politics
3 min read
story-hero-img
i
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large
Hindi Female

The third meeting of the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition of Opposition parties begins in Mumbai on 31 August. This is the first meeting of the coalition in a state that is not ruled by one of their constituents.

The previous meetings were hosted by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna and the Karnataka Congress in Bengaluru.

The Mumbai meet is being hosted jointly by the Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, both parties that have faced splits allegedly at the BJP's behest.

It is in this context that the INDIA coalition managed to dodge a landmine in the run-up to the Mumbai meet.

  • What was this landmine?

  • What are the likely expected outcomes from the Mumbai meet?

We will try and answer these two questions in this piece.

'INDIA' Meeting: How did Alliance Escape a Landmine? What Will Happen in Mumbai?

  1. 1. 'INDIA' Averts a Landmine

    In the run-up to the Mumbai meet, a great deal of focus was on the churn within the NCP. Party chief Sharad Pawar had a 'social' meeting with his nephew Ajit Pawar, who joined the NDA along with a majority of the party MLAs.

    "There were clear attempts to drive a wedge within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (Congress-NCP-Sena coalition in Maharashtra) and instigate both the Shiv Sena and Congress against the NCP," an NCP leader from the pro-Sharad Pawar camp told The Quint.

    However, insiders from both the Congress and Shiv Sena UBT say that there was indeed some concern due to the statements made by Sharad Pawar, especially when he said that Ajit Pawar and his supporters are also part of his party.

    Matters became worse when Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavan said in public that the BJP had offered a Union Cabinet position to NCP leader and Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule.

    "It is good that the top leaders of all three parties remained in touch and there were no misunderstandings," the NCP leader said, adding that "He (Sharad Pawar) knows that the negative comments coming from some Congress leaders don't reflect the views of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Mallikarjun Kharge".

    Senior leaders of the Maharashtra Congress, like Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, also refused to make any public statements against the NCP.

    This was a crucial landmine that the INDIA alliance nationally and MVA in Maharashtra, escaped.

    Alienating the NCP would have meant a definite end to the entire alliance in Maharashtra as it is Sharad Pawar's party that brings the Congress and Shiv Sena UBT together, despite their ideological differences. Had Sharad Pawar really gone towards the NDA, it would have been very difficult for the two parties to remain allies though there have been efforts of late in both parties to cultivate a relationship independent of the NCP.

    Expand
  2. 2. What's Likely to Happen at the Meeting?

    There has been speculation in the media that the meeting could lead to the selection of the convenor for the alliance.

    However, sources have told The Quint that this may happen at a later stage and the focus of the Mumbai meet may be to iron out a few other aspects, such as:

    1. Creation of some kind of an organisational structure: This could include creation of a committee for overall coordination as well as focus groups comprising representatives from different parties to look at different political and policy aspects. The expectation is that these committees would eventually lead to a sort of secretariat and shadow cabinet ahead of the 2024 elections.

    2. Unveiling of the 'INDIA' Logo: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has already announced in the run-up to the meeting that the coalition logo will be announced at the Mumbai meet. One round of informal discussions have already taken place on this between the various parties on this.

    3. Better Social Media Integration: The parties are likely to discuss a mechanism for better coordination of their social media activities, to ensure a common narrative and amplification of each other's content. The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have the maximum social media presence among the INDIA constituents and so far their volunteers are usually at loggerheads on some issues while uniting against the BJP on other issues.

    The No Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha and the passage of the Delhi services Bill in August ended up becoming a bonding exercise for the INDIA coalition - it helped the parties coordinate floor management as well as enabled their social media volunteers to amplify each other's content.

    This process is likely to be taken forward and maybe formalised at the Mumbai meet.

    "Media's focus is always on 'who?' - Chehra kaun hoga? Convenor kaun hoga? We are focusing on the 'what' aspect - what is our policy agenda? What is our coordination mechanism?" an alliance leader told The Quint.

    The Mumbai meet may end up focusing more on the 'What' aspect.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

'INDIA' Averts a Landmine

In the run-up to the Mumbai meet, a great deal of focus was on the churn within the NCP. Party chief Sharad Pawar had a 'social' meeting with his nephew Ajit Pawar, who joined the NDA along with a majority of the party MLAs.

"There were clear attempts to drive a wedge within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (Congress-NCP-Sena coalition in Maharashtra) and instigate both the Shiv Sena and Congress against the NCP," an NCP leader from the pro-Sharad Pawar camp told The Quint.

However, insiders from both the Congress and Shiv Sena UBT say that there was indeed some concern due to the statements made by Sharad Pawar, especially when he said that Ajit Pawar and his supporters are also part of his party.

Matters became worse when Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavan said in public that the BJP had offered a Union Cabinet position to NCP leader and Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule.

"It is good that the top leaders of all three parties remained in touch and there were no misunderstandings," the NCP leader said, adding that "He (Sharad Pawar) knows that the negative comments coming from some Congress leaders don't reflect the views of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Mallikarjun Kharge".

Senior leaders of the Maharashtra Congress, like Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, also refused to make any public statements against the NCP.

This was a crucial landmine that the INDIA alliance nationally and MVA in Maharashtra, escaped.

Alienating the NCP would have meant a definite end to the entire alliance in Maharashtra as it is Sharad Pawar's party that brings the Congress and Shiv Sena UBT together, despite their ideological differences. Had Sharad Pawar really gone towards the NDA, it would have been very difficult for the two parties to remain allies though there have been efforts of late in both parties to cultivate a relationship independent of the NCP.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

What's Likely to Happen at the Meeting?

There has been speculation in the media that the meeting could lead to the selection of the convenor for the alliance.

However, sources have told The Quint that this may happen at a later stage and the focus of the Mumbai meet may be to iron out a few other aspects, such as:

  1. Creation of some kind of an organisational structure: This could include creation of a committee for overall coordination as well as focus groups comprising representatives from different parties to look at different political and policy aspects. The expectation is that these committees would eventually lead to a sort of secretariat and shadow cabinet ahead of the 2024 elections.

  2. Unveiling of the 'INDIA' Logo: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has already announced in the run-up to the meeting that the coalition logo will be announced at the Mumbai meet. One round of informal discussions have already taken place on this between the various parties on this.

  3. Better Social Media Integration: The parties are likely to discuss a mechanism for better coordination of their social media activities, to ensure a common narrative and amplification of each other's content. The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have the maximum social media presence among the INDIA constituents and so far their volunteers are usually at loggerheads on some issues while uniting against the BJP on other issues.

The No Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha and the passage of the Delhi services Bill in August ended up becoming a bonding exercise for the INDIA coalition - it helped the parties coordinate floor management as well as enabled their social media volunteers to amplify each other's content.

This process is likely to be taken forward and maybe formalised at the Mumbai meet.

"Media's focus is always on 'who?' - Chehra kaun hoga? Convenor kaun hoga? We are focusing on the 'what' aspect - what is our policy agenda? What is our coordination mechanism?" an alliance leader told The Quint.

The Mumbai meet may end up focusing more on the 'What' aspect.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

0

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Topics:  Congress   NCP   Sharad Pawar 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
×
×