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The contrasting INDIA and NDA alliance comparisons in phase 4 of the Lok Sabha elections | Latest news India

The Congress-led Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) is facing significant intra-alliance conflict in the fourth phase of elections compared to the previous phase, an analysis of candidate affidavits by Hindustan shows Times. In contrast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) remains largely united, with only minor conflicts in two constituencies.

In the 96 PCs voting today, the NDA has fielded 97 candidates in 95 PCs, with an imagined intra-alliance conflict in just two PCs.  (AP)
In the 96 PCs voting today, the NDA has fielded 97 candidates in 95 PCs, with an imagined intra-alliance conflict in just two PCs. (AP)

To be sure, even the intra-alliance conflicts in INDIA are largely fictitious outside the eight parliamentary constituencies (PCs) in West Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress (TMC) failed to work with the Congress and the Communist Party of India ( Marxist) or CPI(M).

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In the 96 PCs voting today, the NDA has fielded 97 candidates in 95 PCs, with an imagined intra-alliance conflict in just two PCs. These conflicts are taking place in a constituency in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the Republican Party of India (Athawale), a party without a Lok Sabha MP, has fielded a candidate against the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the BJP respectively. On the other hand, no member of the alliance is contesting the seat of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NDA’s alliance calculation in the current phase also shows another interesting trend. While the BJP is still the largest partner in the alliance even at this stage, it contests the smallest share of PCs in any phase, contesting 72.9% of votes in this phase, compared to 75.5%. 79.5% and 87.1% of PCs voted in the first three phases.

This trend is explained by the fact that the BJP has given 17 of Andhra Pradesh’s 25 PCs to the TDP, the NDA’s second largest component in this phase of the polls. The TDP is also the second largest component of the NDA at the all-India level. All other NDA members are contesting for three seats or less in this phase.

To be fair, this is partly a reflection of the fact that the elections in Bihar and Maharashtra (where the BJP has shared seats roughly equally with allies) have been spread over seven to five phases. Only eleven and five PCs from Maharashtra and Bihar will vote in the voting scheduled today.

In stark contrast to the NDA, the INDIA group has 148 candidates across 95 PCs, with conflict within the alliance in 48 seats. The INDIA alliance has no candidate in Indore, where the Congress candidate has withdrawn his nomination, and no other INDIA member is contesting.

To be fair, intra-alliance conflict in a large portion of constituencies is not necessarily the result of Congress’s failure to concede seats to allies, at least not in all of these PCs. The party is contesting only 61 of the 96 seats (63.5%) in the current phase. It had contested 54.9%, 79.5% and 73.1% PCs in the first three phases.

Why then are there a large number of intra-alliance conflicts within the INDIA group despite Congress not contesting a large chunk of seats? The party is not contesting a larger share of seats because it is the smaller partner in Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; and contesting only 10 of the 41 seats in these states going to polls in the current phase.

In West Bengal, however, the party has only entered into a formal seat-sharing agreement with the CPI(M). Here, the Congress and the CPI(M) are in tussle with the TMC in all eight seats of the state going to polls. A similar conflict is between the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) and the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Srinagar.

Other conflicts for the INDIA alliance arise from smaller voters fielding candidates in PCs where they have no formal seat-sharing arrangement. For example, the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) is fighting thirteen PCs, all in conflict with other INDIA members. Six of these PCs are in Andhra Pradesh, three in Telangana, two in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Maharashtra and Odisha. Similarly, the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) are at odds with each other in all the seven, four and eight PCs they are contesting against, respectively.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) is also in conflict in four of the five PCs (all except Begusarai in Bihar). The Samajwadi Party (SP), on the other hand, has created a similar conflict in seven PCs in Andhra Pradesh and one PC in Odisha, while it faces such a conflict from CPI and AIFB in two PCs in Uttar Pradesh.

Who would have won these PCs where INDIA members are in conflict in 2019? Half of these 48 PCs were won by parties that were neither part of a BJP-led alliance nor a Congress-led alliance. The YSRCP had won 14 PCs, the TRS seven, and the TDP, BJD and the AIMIM had won one PC each. The BJP had won another 15 PCs. INDIA members of 2024 had won only eight of these 48 PCs in 2019: the Congress two PCs, the TMC four, and the undivided Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena had won one each. It is fair to say that this seat distribution in conflict PCs is partly a reflection of the overall performance of non-NDA and non-INDIA parties in 2019 in the PCs voting today. If PCs are grouped based on the seven phases of the 2024 elections, non-NDA and non-INDIA parties had the highest share in the fourth phase PCs in 2019.