Opposition Alliance’s Third Meeting in Mumbai Focuses on Strategy and Unity

Mumbai: INDIA bloc has exuded confidence that it would provide a formidable alternative to bring political change in the country

BY | Thursday, 31 August, 2023

The third meeting of the opposition bloc INDIA will begin here on Thursday to discuss its strategy to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha elections due next year and inclusion of new allies. Along with talks on strategy and inclusion of new allies, unveiling of the INDIA bloc logo and discussion on the common minimum programme (CMP) will be the highlight of the two-day deliberations. As many as 63 representatives from 28 political parties will attend the meeting of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on Thursday and Friday at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai.

The third meeting of the opposition bloc is hosted by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the three-party alliance of the Congress, the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the NCP led by Sharad Pawar. The alliance leaders are getting together for the third round of the brainstorming session here, after Patna and Bengaluru, to chalk out their common campaign strategy to take on the NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The alliance would announce a coordination committee, which could be of 11 members from principal opposition parties.

The opposition alliance is also likely to hold discussions on whether to have a convenor or not and whether there will be some sub-groups to handle seat sharing, agitational joint programmes and communication strategy. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah, former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and CPI general secretary D Raja have already arrived in Mumbai.

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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will arrive on Thursday.

An informal meeting of all the leaders will take place followed by a dinner hosted by Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, where the visiting leaders will get to savour the traditional Maharashtrian food, including ‘Puran Poli’, and also a mix of North and South Indian dishes.

Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who is heading the organising committee of the INDIA alliance meet, on Wednesday said the meeting in Mumbai was significant as Maharashtra has shown the country a way forward in the independence movement, industrial and social revolutions. He said the INDIA alliance has developmental agenda and has taken on the challenge to stop fascist forces.

The opposition INDIA bloc has exuded confidence that it would provide a formidable alternative to bring political change in the country and asserted that it has several prime ministerial faces against BJP’s only one.

The opposition alliance has also expanded its ambit to 28 parties by including two regional outfits – the Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP), a Marxist political party in Maharashtra, and another regional outfit. Mamata Banerjee on her arrival in Mumbai tied Rakhi on Thackeray and Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday.

To a query on who will be the INDIA alliance PM candidate, Mamata Banerjee said, “India will be our PM face. Our primary concern is to save the country,” she said.

Addressing a press conference here, NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said he has confidence that the opposition alliance will provide a formidable alternative to bring about a political change in the country. He said there has been no discussion on seat sharing within the INDIA alliance.

Former chief minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the alliance of opposition parties belonging to different ideologies has the common objective of protecting democracy and ‘Bharat Mata’.

On the INDIA alliance PM face, Thackeray said, “We have a lot of choices, the question is what choice the BJP has.”

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