July 19, 2023
NEW DELHI – In a major political development, 26 Opposition parties on Tuesday named their alliance “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance” (INDIA) and resolved to jointly take on the BJP-led NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
At a marathon two-day meeting in Bengaluru, the Opposition parties decided to form a 11-member coordination committee to finalise their strategy for the polls. The names of the members of the committee will be announced at the next meeting scheduled to be held in Mumbai.
Addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said: ”This was an important meeting to save democracy and the Constitution. Our allies agreed to have one name for the coalition. Our alliance will be called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance. Earlier we were UPA.”
The Congress chief said the Opposition alliance will have a secretariat for campaign management in New Delhi.
Hitting out at the BJP, Kharge said, “The BJP-led government wants to destroy democracy by using autonomous bodies like CBI, ED, vigilance commission and all other such institutions against Opposition leaders and workers. This is a grave situation. We have come together to save this situation. How to save the country and the people of the country – this is the issue before us.”
He said the Opposition meeting in Patna was attended by 16 parties. In the Bengaluru meeting, 26 parties participated.
Taking a dig at the NDA meeting in Delhi, the Congress president said. “The NDA is holding a meeting with 30 parties. I have not heard about so many parties in India. Earlier, they didn’t hold any meetings, but now they are meeting one by one (with NDA parties). PM Modi is now afraid of opposition parties. We have gathered here to save democracy and the Constitution.”
“In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, we will fight unitedly and will come out with great success,” the Congress president asserted.
Addressing a press conference, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee described the Opposition meeting as good, constructive and fruitful.
The West Bengal Chief Minister asked whether the NDA would be able to challenge the INDIA.
She dared the ruling party and alliance, “NDA, can you challenge INDIA? BJP can you challenge INDIA?”
Addressing the press conference, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the fight was not between two alliances standing on the opposite ends of the political spectrum but a fight to defend “the idea of India”. “The idea of India is under attack today. The idea of an inclusive India is being attacked by the ideology of the BJP,” he added.
“The fight is against BJP and its ideology. This fight is between India and Narendra Modi,” he elaborated.
“This fight is not between two political formations, but to defend the idea of India. If you will see history, you will find that nobody has been able to fight the idea of India. It’s a fight between the idea of India and Narendra Modi,” the Congress leader said.
He further alleged that public wealth was being handed to a select few corporate cronies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Public wealth in the country is being snatched away and handed over to a select few businessmen, who are close to PM Modi and the BJP. Joblessness is rampant and the prices of essential commodities are on the rise. This is what our fight is against. It is a fight between two different and contrasting ideas of India,” Rahul added.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and Shiv Sena-UBT chief and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who also addressed the press conference, pledged to defeat the BJP-led NDA.
Pointing out that nine years ago, the people of India made PM Narendra Modi win with a huge mandate, Kejriwal, the press conference, said, “BJP got a lot of opportunities to develop the country, but none of the sectors has benefited.”
Meanwhile, former the Maharashtra chief minister slammed the BJP Government at the Centre saying “their opposition is not against any party but against the dictatorship.”
Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar arrived in Bengaluru to take part in the second and concluding day of the opposition meeting on Tuesday. The senior Opposition leader had skipped the first day of the mega joint meeting, where 26 like-minded parties closed ranks with a common aim of taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.