Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. M K Stalin, has stated that a convention of non-NDA CMs is being planned in Delhi, implying that a federal front is in the works. Stalin further claimed that he discussed the issue with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Following Stalin’s recent announcement that the DMK aims to launch a forum to advance the cause of social justice, the planned convention has been proposed. In a related development, Telangana Chief Minister KCR said he would discuss the need for Opposition parties to unify against the BJP with his Maharashtra counterpart, Uddhav Thackeray and Banerjee. Rao has increased the ante in his fight against the BJP and has become close with Congress. These regional leaders are putting together a unified anti-BJP front in the run-up to the 2024 general election.
The deterioration of the Centre-state ties on several topics, including the function of investigative agencies, GST, IAS cadre restrictions, and, most recently, the sharing of PDS data, has prompted the formation of a federal front. The opposition has been protesting that the federal government is eroding state powers. CMs in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, and other states have complained that their governors are interfering with the elected government’s rights, possibly at the behest of the Centre. The BJP has made no secret of its desire to expand its electoral footprint and have a say in governing, fueled by a unitarian vision of the republic and a majority in the Lok Sabha. Leaders like KCR recognize that the BJP has risen to the top of Indian politics and expect it to become their principal adversary in their strongholds. The ruling parties in Jharkhand, the SP, RJD, and JMM are all likely to think along similar lines and support a regional front.
When the results of five assembly elections are announced in March, the contours of the federal front will undoubtedly emerge. The effectiveness of Congress in these states will determine whether it has a role to play in this regard. Gains for the BJP in the assembly elections, on the other hand, would deflate the ambitions of the opposition leaders. However, for numerous regional participants to stay together, the Opposition initiative will require a glue: Similar initiatives in the past have failed to gain traction because they lacked a compelling vision and an effective program to be recognized as a genuine alternative to the BJP. Being anti-BJP may not be enough to hold a coalition together.