“The focus of the firstever opposition gathering of this scale in recent years will be on working out a formula to field one common candidate against BJP and its allies in most of the 543 Lok Sabha seats that will go to polls,” JD(U) chief spokesperson K C Tyagi told TOI.The meeting, an initiative ofBihar CM Nitish Kumar who sought to forge an anti-BJP front after breaking away from the saffron outfit in August last year, will be at-tended by several big guns in the opposition.
Opposition meet likely to focus on deliverables, name for bloc
Of the six CMs invited to the meeting, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann and their TN counterpart M K Stalin landed in Patna by Thursday evening along with CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Besides Mufti, at least four former CMs — Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Uddhav Tha ckeray — will be part of the meeting from 11 am at Nitish’s 1, Anne Marg residence. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and ex-MP Rahul Gandhi are expected in Patna on Friday mo rning. The high-profile cast notwithstanding, the deliberations will be held against the backdrop of uncertainty over the feasibility of the central objective — to collapse the battlefield into straight contests with BJP.
Opposition parties to blow 2024 poll bugle with a mega rally in Patna, but will it be enough to stop Modi?
The pockets of influence of the anti-BJP forces overlap, with none of them too eager to sacrifice their share for the sake of the principle which, they say, have brought them together.
There are indications the meeting may put off the main objective of getting the attendees to acquiesce into each other’s demands, and would rather focus on possible deliverables like a name for the blocin-the-making, decide the date and venue of the next round and on the drafting of a common minimum programme.
Former CM Lalu P rasad, despite not being in the best of health, remained in the thick of things with Mamata and Stalin heading straight to his house from the airport to meet him.
Conspicuous by their absence will be regional titans like Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (BJD), Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao (BRS), UP ex-CM Mayawati (BSP), Andhra CM Y SJagan Mohan Reddy (YSRCP), Sukhbir Singh Badal (SAD) and HD Kumaraswamy (JD-S). Tyagi said they weren’t invited because “they did not make clear their commitment to p utting up aunited fight against BJP”.