The internal conflicts in INDIA alliance, especially in the states that re heading for elections by the year-end, is unfortunate, Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said today. As an example, he cited the public fight between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party that took place recently. "The way they gave statements that each of them will contest in all 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh -- this is not good for the INDIA alliance," he told reporters.
This is the first time a leader of the Opposition bloc has admitted to a rift and commented on it. Leaders of the BJP have been predicting the disintegration of the bloc since it was formed in July.
Earlier this month, the Samajwadi Party was extremely upset after the Congress apparently broke its promise of seat sharing in Madhya Pradesh. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav talked tough, alleging that he had been back-stabbed by state Congress chief Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh and hinting that he could rethink his presence in the alliance.
The two parties ended up posting candidates against each other on 18 seats in a total reversal of the INDIA bloc's gameplan for 2024.
The Congress retaliated. Asked about Akhilesh Yadav's betrayal charge, Kamal Nath had told reporters "Arre bhai chhodo Akhilesh Vakhilesh (Forget about Akhilesh Yadav)".
The comment brought a reprimand from his longtime party colleague and political rival Digvijaya Singh. "What Kamal Nath said (remark on Akhilesh Yadav), I don't know how he said it. But one should not say anything like that about anyone," he said.
Today, Akhilesh Yadav reaffirmed his presence in the INDIA bloc, saying, "PDA is strategy, INDIA is alliance... PDA will remove the BJP".
Mr Yadav's PDA coinage -- made a few days after the spart with the Congress, stands for "Pichde" (backwards), "Dalits" and "Alpasankhyaks (Minorities)".
Mr Yadav has been asserting that this combination will help defeat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in next year's general election.