With all eyes on June 23 meeting in Patna, both BJP and Congress try to put their act together


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is trying to bring all Opposition on a common platform in Patna on June 23 (ANI)

A section of Congress is in favor of projecting Rahul Gandhi as the face of Opposition while several other parties want this decision to be taken after the Lok Sabha elections

Our Bureau
Patna/New Delhi

In an important development this week, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Bihar Core Group meeting took place at Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s residence in Delhi to strengthen the organization ahead of the Patna Opposition meeting on June 23.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called a meeting of top Opposition leaders to mobilize the opposition against BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The meeting will be held in Patna on June 23, JD(U) national president Lalan Singh said.

The meeting, which is aimed at laying the groundwork for the coming together of like-minded Opposition parties against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government at the Centre, was originally scheduled to be held on June 12.

However, the meeting was postponed after several Opposition leaders, including Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, expressed their inability to attend the meeting on June 12, citing prior engagements and preoccupations.

On June 12, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said that there is “no personal interest” of anyone in bringing the Opposition parties together and that the leaders are doing this only for the “betterment” of the country.

Speaking to reporters, Tejaswi Yadav said, “We have to fight those people who are destroying democracy, constitution and want to change history. We do not have any personal interest. We have taken this decision for the betterment of the country. They (BJP) lost Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh and will also lose the upcoming state elections.”

As it gears up for meeting of opposition parties to be held in Patna on June 23, Congress faces confusion and internal pressures in deciding its course of action in the larger objective of opposition unity to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources said Congress has not been able to find answers to some of the questions likely to crop up during the meeting. The party’s units in Delhi and Punjab have told the leadership not to support Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his efforts to defeat the bill that the Centre will bring in Parliament to replace the ordinance on the control of services in Delhi. Kejriwal is keen that the bill gets defeated in the Rajya Sabha and has been meeting opposition leaders. The Congress leadership is apparently facing a dilemma on the issue.

Congress units in Punjab and Delhi have also told the party leadership not to enter into any understanding on seat-sharing with Aam Aadmi Party. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is a firm critic of Mamata Banerjee government and the party has not categorically stated its stance on any possibility of tie up with the Trinamool Congress.

In Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs to Lok Sabha, there is still no clarity if Congress will go alone or have a tie-up. It is also not clear that in case of a tie-up with Samajwadi Party, how many seats Congress will agree to. A section of Congress is in favor of projecting Rahul Gandhi as the face of Opposition while several other parties including Janata Dal-Untied want this decision to be taken after the Lok Sabha elections.

JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh had said that party leader Nitish Kumar is not in the race to become Prime Minister and the decision on the PM candidate would be taken after the Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, referring to the upcoming visits of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party National President JP Nadda to Bihar at the end of this month, state Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday said that the BJP leaders are visiting the state because the party is “scared” ever since the grand alliance was formed.

“Ever since the Grand Alliance was formed and we have come with Nitish Kumar, there is panic in their (BJP) camp. These people are scared,” Yadav said while addressing the reporters here. He further emphasized that if the entire opposition contests elections unitedly, then the BJP will be ousted from the states where it currently holds power.

“If the entire opposition contests elections unitedly, then they are not going to last anywhere, these people know this and their internal survey is also telling them what will be their condition in different states? This is told by a BJP leader,” Tejashwi Yadav said.

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