In an intriguing gathering, top leaders from 26 opposition parties have converged in Bengaluru to shape the future of a formidable alliance set to challenge the BJP in the upcoming year. Today, from 11 am to 4 pm, the formal discussions will take place, unveiling the possibilities that lie ahead.
Here are the top 10 highlights of this significant development:
- Throughout the day, the leaders convened in Bengaluru and later dined together, establishing the agenda for the closed-door talks scheduled for Tuesday. According to sources, there is a strong likelihood that Sonia Gandhi, the former chairperson of UPA, will assume the role of President in the newly formed alliance, while Nitish Kumar is expected to be named the Convenor.
- Apart from Mrs. Gandhi, prominent figures such as Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers MK Stalin, Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal, Hemant Soren, Mamata Banerjee, and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad will participate in the two-day meeting. Sharad Pawar, whose party recently experienced internal division due to his nephew Ajit Pawar’s rebellion, is set to join the meeting tomorrow.
- Sources reveal that all participating parties have been requested to propose a name for the alliance, incorporating the word “India.” The tagline, “United we stand,” has been selected to embody the collective spirit. Furthermore, suggestions are being sought for the Common Minimum Programme, while the issue of states is expected to be addressed separately.
- “Like-minded opposition parties shall closely work together to foster an agenda of social justice, inclusive development, and national welfare. We want to free the people of India from the autocratic and anti-people politics of hate, division, economic inequality, and loot… United We Stand, for this INDIA,” tweeted by Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge.
- During the dinner meeting held at the Taj West End Hotel, Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi were seen seated next to each other. Sources indicate that they engaged in a one-on-one conversation, which lasted nearly 20 minutes and caused a slight delay in the proceedings.
- Although the Congress and Ms. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had experienced strained relations recently, the two parties have moved beyond their differences, recognizing that defeating the BJP in the next election is of utmost importance to safeguard democracy and federalism.
- The Congress, as the host of the meeting, strategically chose its venue, capitalizing on its recent victory in the Karnataka assembly elections. This triumph not only revitalized the opposition but also positioned the Congress as a dominant force in the political landscape.
Under the leadership of Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress has maintained a low profile, emphasizing its willingness to listen to the ideas of other leaders. Its support for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party in opposing the Central Ordinance in Parliament showcases its commitment to collaborative efforts.
- When questioned about the attendance of the Congress’ former ally, HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular, senior Congress leader Pawan Khera responded, “All parties with the determination and courage to confront the BJP are welcome.” He added, “From 16 in Patna to 26 in Bengaluru, this opposition will grow… We will have many more meetings. Issues would be discussed now, and we will address leadership matters later.”
- Coinciding with the opposition gathering, the BJP is organizing a show of strength in Delhi, where all constituents of the NDA will also convene tomorrow. Mr. Khera remarked that the BJP is feeling “uneasy,” which explains their decision to hold this meeting.