NEW DELHI: The 26-party opposition bloc’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) may find it difficult to win at least 209 of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 parliamentary election even if they reach an understanding on seat-sharing.
The battlelines for the 2024 parliamentary election have been more or less drawn between BJP-led 38-party National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and 26-party opposition’s INDIA.
However, at least nine prominent political parties are neither in the NDA nor in INDIA formations, with most of them maintaining equidistance with both the blocs.
The nine parties are BSP, BJD, JD(S), Shiromani Akali Dal, BRS (formerly TRS), YSRCP, INLD, AIMIM, and AIUDF.
All these nine regional parties are a force to reckon with in their respective states and some are even the ruling dispensations.
These nine parties have 58 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
The nine states, in which they wield considerable influence, have 209 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats.
Mayawati-led BSP has a strong base in Uttar Pradesh which returns 80 Lok Sabha MPs. BSP has 9 MPs in the present Lok Sabha.
Naveen Patnaik-led BJD rules Odisha. The eastern state had 21 Lok Sabha seats. BJD won 12 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda-led JD(S) is the third largest party in Karnataka. The southern state has 28 Lok Sabha seats and JD(S) has 1 MP.
Sukhbir Singh Badal-led SAD has ruled Punjab for several decades. However, it has grown weak in recent years with the coming of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP. Though SAD has only 3 of the 117 MLAs in Punjab, it does have influence over voters throughout the state. It has 2 out of the 13 MPs from Punjab in the Lok Sabha.
K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR)-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), formerly known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), is the ruling party in Telangana for the last two terms. It has 9 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats from Telangana.
Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP is the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh which returns a total 25 MPs to the Lok Sabha. YSRCP had won a whopping 22 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD used to dominate Haryana politics till recently. INLD has just 1 MLA in the 90-member state assembly and does not have any MP in the Lok Sabha. However, it still has considerable influence over a section of the voters in the state which returns 10 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, a largely Muslim-dominated party, has a grip over the Telangana capital Hyderabad. Owaisi himself is an MP from Hyderabad. Its second MP is from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Besides these two seats, AIMIM has the potential to influence voters in several constituencies throughout the country having a considerable Muslim population.
Perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF is another Muslim dominated but unlike AIMM, it is confined to Assam which has a total 14 Lok Sabha seats. Ajmal is the lone Lok Sabha MP of the party. AIUDF has sizeable following in Assam.
The opposition INDIA may have a tough challenge in defeating the BJP-led NDA with these nine parties remaining a separate bloc.