Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses the media as party President Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Shiv Sena (UBT) Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and other leaders look on, after the Opposition parties meet in Bengaluru on Tuesday (ANI Photo/Shrikant Singh)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calls the Lok Sabha elections next year a fight between India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What is the strategy of BJP-led NDA to counter this move by all Opposition parties? 

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Bengaluru/Patna

The next general elections are less than a year away. But the battle lines are being drawn already. The oppositions parties are all coming together. The ruling alliance is flexing its muscles too.

This week saw two major political shows of strength in India – one in the national capital and another in Bengaluru, now being ruled by a Congress government.

On Tuesday, the Opposition with 26 parties came up with a name for the alliance for the 2024 LS polls, announcing that it would be called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA.

On Tuesday, while addressing the media after the meeting, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Earlier, we were UPA and now all the 26 parties have given a name to the opposition and that is – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). Everybody has agreed upon this, and the resolution for the name was passed unanimously.” The development came as top leaders of 26 Opposition parties from across the country met in Bengaluru on Tuesday to discuss a united strategy to take on the ruling NDA alliance at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said that Rahul Gandhi justified why it should be INDIA during the discussion in the meeting. “It is a collective effort. We all sat together, and we all decided on names. Rahul ji spearheaded this, he justified why it should be INDIA. He argued for it,” Srinate said.

The representatives of the 26 parties— 10 more than the 16 parties which had met in Patna on June 23 — also decided to set up an 11-member coordination committee, including all the major parties, and a ‘secretariat’ in Delhi for campaign management and for coordinating the working of various sub-committees, which will take up specific issues.

“The next opposition meeting will be held in Mumbai; the date will be announced soon. An 11-member coordination committee will be set up. Names of committee members will be announced in Mumbai,” Kharge said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the Lok Sabha elections next year a fight between India and PM Modi. “This fight is not between 2 political formations but the fight is 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,” Gandhi said.

He further added, “The fight is against BJP and its ideology. This fight is between India and Narendra Modi.”

On being asked who will lead the alliance, Kharge said, “We are making a coordination committee of 11. At that meeting in Mumbai, we will decide on who the 11 will be, who the Convenor will be, etc. These are small things”.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while warning the ruling party at the center said, “NDA, BJP, can you challenge INDIA?”

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) attended the meeting with the Congress assuring the party of its support for the BJP government’s ordinance nullifying the Supreme Court’s order to give the Delhi government larger control over the bureaucracy in the state.

AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, while addressing the press conference said that the leaders of the like-minded parties came to Karnataka’s Bengaluru to save the country from “hatred”.

The 26 parties resolved to “safeguard the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders ahead of their meeting, at ‘The Ashok Hotel’, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President JP Nadda and others are also present (ANI Photo/Rahul Singh) 

The Samuhik Sankalp of 26 political parties belonging to I.N.D.I.A alleged that the pillars of the Indian Constitution “are being methodically and menacingly undermined”.

Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also said that the Opposition parties are fighting for inclusive India which is written in the Constitution and PM Modi is fighting for exclusive India.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, countering the Opposition parties, which at their second joint meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday named their fledgling alliance as I.N.D.I.A (India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the NDA stands for “New India, Development, Aspiration”.

Addressing a meeting of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the national capital on Tuesday evening, PM Modi said,” NDA means N=New India, D=Development, A=Aspiration.” In a veiled at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remark at an event in London earlier this year, questioning why the “defenders to democracies” were unmoved over the prevailing state of affairs in India, PM Modi said even when the NDA was in the Opposition, it never insulted the people’s mandate or never took help of foreign powers to destabilize the ruling governments.

“Even when we were in the Opposition, we always preached and practiced positive politics. We unearthed scams of previous governments but never questioned or insulted the mandate of the people. We never took the help of foreign powers against the ruling governments. We never created hurdles to development schemes meant for the welfare of the country and its people,” PM Modi said.

He stated further that nation, national security and progress were the priorities for the NDA.

“For the NDA, it is nation first, security of the nation first, progress first and the empowerment of the people first,” PM Modi said.

The representatives from a total of 38 political parties were in attendance as the meeting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP got underway in the national capital on Tuesday evening.

The NDA leaders, who arrived for the meeting, also posed for a group photograph before going into a huddle. Ahead of the meeting of the NDA, Prime Minister Modi shared a tweet, expressing his delight at the NDA partners from across the country arriving in the national capital for the huddle.

PM Modi took to Twitter to post,” It is a matter of immense joy that our valued NDA partners from across India will be attending the meeting in Delhi today. Ours is a time-tested alliance which seeks to further national progress and fulfil regional aspirations.”

The meeting decided on some significant steps towards preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, sources said. They said that NDA led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has formed 10 clusters, each headed by a minister or big leader, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of spearheading the alliance’s campaign strategy. NDA has 38 political parties at present.

Sources said that following the initial meeting held in the Parliament today, the Prime Minister outlined a clear roadmap and set ambitious targets for the coalition in the run-up to the 2024 elections. The primary objective is to strengthen the NDA and consolidate its position across the country.

Sources said that 10 ministers leading the respective clusters are expected to play a pivotal role in mobilizing their parties and allies towards a common goal. The alliance aims to harness the strengths of each constituent party and work in tandem to maximize electoral gains.

Sources informed that some of the ministers, who would be given responsibility are Anurag Singh Thakur, Pralhad Joshi, Nityanand Rai, Dharmendra Pradhan and Sarbanand Sonowal. As per the sources, every group would have 35-40 Members of Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold meetings of each group and the first meeting is to be held on July 25.

The sources said that with the formation of these clusters and the allocation of specific responsibilities, the NDA has taken “a proactive step” towards streamlining its campaign efforts.

They said that the coalition is committed to presenting a comprehensive and compelling vision for the country’s future, addressing various challenges and aspirations of the citizens.

The sources said that BJP-led alliance has started its preparations in earnest to secure a renewed mandate from the electorate in the 2024 polls.

With the opposition too coming together, it is going to be long-drawn battle till the elections next year.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top