Chidambaram assures leader of anti-BJP bloc to emerge in 'due course'text_fields
New Delhi: Senior Congressman P. Chidambaram on Sunday, ahead of the crucial Bengaluru meeting, exuded confidence that the Opposition, by remaining united, can undoubtedly challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and stated that the leader of the anti-BJP bloc will emerge in "due course." There is "no need to talk about it now," Chidambaram said in an interview, despite the Congress' "unique position" among the opposition parties.
The former Union minister also said that the manner in which the AAP formulated and posed the Delhi ordinance issue at the Patna meeting of the opposition parties was "unfortunate".
Each issue will be decided on its own merits and at the appropriate time and place, he said.
Chidambaram stressed that the Opposition parties have several objectives in common as they are opposed to the social and economic policies of the BJP government, are concerned about slow economic growth, high inflation and rising unemployment, as well as about the "curtailment of civil liberties, the gagging of the media, the emasculation of institutions, and the misuse of investigating agencies".
"They are concerned about the security situation on the borders. These common concerns have brought them together to oppose the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There is enough justification for the Opposition parties to meet as often as possible in the run-up to the elections," he said.
The forthcoming meeting at Bengaluru will certainly be purposeful, Chidambaram said and added that "we must wait and see what the next steps will be".
Asked about the Opposition having sidestepped the leadership question for now and whether going to polls without a PM face would work when Modi has been at the helm for 10 years, Chidambaram said, "That Mr Narendra Modi has been at the helm of the BJP and the central government for 10 years is not a strength but a weakness. Mr Modi's hands are bare and he has not delivered on his promises."
There is nothing more that he can deliver in the last year, "except perhaps more slogans", he added.
On the comparison of the Opposition uniting to take on then PM Indira Gandhi in 1977 to the present scenario of opposition parties coming together, Chidambaram said the situation in 1977 was different from the situation in 2023 as in that election, the sole issue was Emergency but today, and in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, there are plenty of issues that are bothering the people.
"I have referred to the common concerns of the Opposition parties. They are sufficient to erect a platform that can be shared by Opposition parties," he said.
The opposition grouping to take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls is set to expand with more parties joining in at the second unity meeting being convened by the Congress in Bengaluru.
Leaders of 24 non-BJP parties have been invited for the meet on June 17 and 18, the first edition of which saw the participation of 15 parties.
The first meeting of opposition parties was held in Bihar's Patna on June 23.
At that meeting, Opposition parties had resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, even as fissures had emerged with the AAP asserting that it would be difficult for it to be part of any such gathering in the future till the Congress publicly supports it on the ordinance issue.
At a joint press conference after the Patna meeting, opposition parties had said they would fight the polls on a common agenda and state-wise strategy, setting aside their differences with a flexible approach.
With PTI inputs