Opposition leaders gather for strategy meet at Mallikarjun Kharge's residencetext_fields
The planned significant gathering of top leaders from the INDIA bloc was deferred to the third week of December due to the unavailability of key leaders, primarily Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
However, a smaller assembly of floor leaders took place at the residence of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, replacing the larger meeting. This meeting aimed to enhance coordination among the opposition parties in preparation for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, emphasising the need for a united front.
Seventeen parties were represented at this hour-long gathering, including Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Pramod Tiwari, K C Venugopal, and Jairam Ramesh. The attendees comprised leaders from various opposition parties such as JMM, MDMK, RSP, CPI, JDU, Samajwadi Party, RLD, AAP, NCP, DMK, CPM, RJD, Kerala Congress (M), and IUML.
Notably, Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee and the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena were absent from this meeting.
The Congress initiated this meeting following its recent electoral losses in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh to the BJP. However, the opposition leaders clarified that it did not represent a setback for the INDIA bloc.
The discussion highlighted the Congress's reluctance to share seats with the Samajwadi Party in Madhya Pradesh, drawing attention from leaders of several parties within the opposition spectrum. They urged the Congress to adopt a more accommodative approach towards its regional allies.
The strategic alliance between opposition parties is anticipated to function on a one-on-one basis, where a single opposition candidate will challenge a BJP candidate. This plan necessitates mutual respect among the bloc's parties and their readiness to step aside as required.
Following the state assembly elections, the focus now shifts towards discussions on seat-sharing arrangements among the opposition parties.
Earlier this year, 26 parties formed the INDIA bloc, aligning against the BJP in what they termed a critical electoral battle. They have previously convened for discussions in Patna, Bengaluru, and Mumbai in a bid to consolidate opposition unity and devise a coherent strategy.