Eyeing 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Opposition parties likely to meet in Patna on June 12
The grand alliance leaders familiar with development said more than 18 like-minded Opposition parties will attend the Patna meeting.
PATNA: The much-awaited meeting of opposition parties to chalk out a plan to project a unified fight against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be held in Patna tentatively on June 12, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.
An information to this effect was given by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar while addressing a meeting of Janata Dal (United) office-bearers at the party office in Patna on Sunday.
“He said in the meeting that opposition unity meeting of all like-minded parties will be held in June, tentatively around June 12, and we have to gear up to present a united front,” a JD(U) functionary told HT, requesting anonymity.
The meeting, in all likelihood, will be held at Gyan Bhawan in the Bihar’s capital city, the functionary said.
Kumar, however, did not interact with media.
The decision on the date of meeting comes close on the heels of 22 Opposition parties, including the Congress and Kumar’s JD(U), boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. The opposition parties have accused the prime minister of ignoring President Droupadi Murmu, saying as the first citizen of the country, she should have rightfully led the inauguration ceremony.
Nitish Kumar has been negotiating with different political parties ever since he severed ties with the BJP in August last year and formed the grand alliance government in Bihar with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and smaller partners, including the Communist parties.
The grand alliance leaders familiar with development said more than 18 like-minded Opposition parties will attend the Patna meeting. “It is going to be preparatory meeting and the main meeting would be held later,” one of the GA leaders said.
The idea to hold the meeting in Patna was mooted by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during her meeting with Kumar in April. Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, had invoked the “Total Revolution” movement led by socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan against the Congress government in 1970s.
“I have made just one request to Nitish Kumar. Jayaprakash ji’s movement started from Bihar. If we hold an all-party meeting in Bihar, we can then decide where we have to go next. We have to give a message that we are all united...,” she had said.
Last week, after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected Congress government in Karnataka, Kumar held fresh talks with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi. He also met Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Earlier this month, the Bihar chief minister had also met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai to take them in confidence in his initiative to get all opposition parties on board to project a unified fight against the BJP in the next year’s general elections.
Mamata Banerjee has already accepted the “One-On-One” strategy pitched by Kumar and the JD(U) has already recognised nearly 475 seats where united opposition can enter into direct fight with the BJP.
The BJP, however, claimed that the Bihar chief minister was “daydreaming” about the prime ministerial post.
“CM Nitish Kumar is a desperate man now and he deliberately wants to present himself as a consensus candidate of united opposition… Not even a single person has said that Nitish is the PM candidate. He is a self-obsessed and self-proclaimed daydreamer of PM post,” Bihar BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said.
“Nitish Kumar is now inviting the political frogs from all over the country to weigh all together on a balancing scale. Most of these political parties are fused bulb and either involved in family business of politics or running a pocket political organisation like a shop,” he added.
Anand also attacked the opposition parties for boycotting the inauguration of the new parliament building.
“All these parties have lost moral ground to talk about democracy because these very people have abused the democratic constitution, the cultural heritage and new Parliament of India,” he said.