INDIA bloc's crucial meet Tuesday; seat sharing, redrawing 2024 LS poll strategy on agenda

The position of the Congress, which suffered a near wipeout in the Hindi heartland, has also weakened within the alliance.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  19 Dec 2023 6:09 AM GMT
INDIA blocs crucial meet Tuesday; seat sharing, redrawing 2024 LS poll strategy on agenda

New Delhi: The opposition INDIA bloc will hold a meeting here on Tuesday to deliberate on a blueprint for a joint campaign, seat sharing and redrawing the strategy for taking on the BJP in the 2024 general elections after the setback in the recent assembly polls.

Evolving a "core positive agenda" will also be among the main challenges before the INDIA bloc. According to a senior Congress leader, the constituents of the opposition alliance intend to move forward with the theme "Main Nahin, Hum (We, Not Me)" at the meeting.

A day before the meeting, to be held at the Ashoka Hotel here around 3 pm, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said the INDIA bloc's prime ministerial candidate will be decided after the 2024 general elections.

She expressed confidence that the alliance will iron out all issues and defeat the BJP.

Dismissing suggestions that the alliance has lost time in putting things in order, Banerjee said, "It is better late than never." The TMC chief expressed confidence that a three-way alliance between her party, the Congress and the Left is very much possible in West Bengal.

"The BJP is not strong, we are weak. We need to work together to overcome it," she told reporters here in reply to a question on the BJP's rising influence, especially in the Hindi belt.

The TMC supremo said that she doesn't discriminate between the Hindi belt and other regions. She made light of the BJP's assertion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will return for a third term, saying 2024 is not a done deal.

Interacting with reporters here on Monday, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said the committees of the INDIA bloc that were formed earlier have been working behind the scenes and preparations were being made for the polls.

Yadav said everyone in the opposition ranks will play their part and asserted that regional parties are very strong. "Wherever there are regional parties, the BJP is nowhere to be seen. Most of the regional parties are in the INDIA bloc," the RJD leader said.

Asked about the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's role in the INDIA bloc going forward, he said everyone's role is the same and everyone's objective is the same which is to oust divisive forces from power.

JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and Shiv Sena (UBT) supremo Uddhav Thackeray arrived in the national capital on Monday evening for the bloc's meeting.

The key challenge before the leaders of various opposition parties is to come up with an alternative common programme as a counter to the ruling dispensation. The immediate task is to build a consensus on having a convener, a spokesperson and a common secretariat, as it is a tricky issue due to differences among the INDIA bloc constituents.

The recent sweeping victory of the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has also put more pressure on opposition parties to put up a united face.

Sources said some parties like the Samajwadi Party and the DMK are likely to finalise their seat-sharing with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab and Delhi continue to remain sticking points among the alliance partners, as none are ready to give in.

With issues such as the caste survey apparently not clicking with voters during the state polls, leaders of the INDIA bloc could go back to the drawing board to chalk out a new strategy. The opposition parties, including the Congress, had gone all out to highlight the caste survey issue in the recent assembly polls, considered the semi-finals ahead of the general elections.

Also, plans for joint rallies by the opposition would have to be finalised soon as the last one scheduled to be held in Bhopal in October before the assembly polls had to be cancelled, the sources said.

The position of the Congress, which suffered a near wipeout in the Hindi heartland, has also weakened within the alliance. Equations within the INDIA bloc are set to change, as other opposition parties would challenge its position as the fulcrum of the alliance.

Undeterred by the recent defeats, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has said they will move forward to take on the BJP with a positive agenda and will highlight people's issues.

With only a few months left for the 2024 elections and the assembly polls proving a dampener, there is little time for the opposition bloc to rediscover its election narrative to take on the BJP under Prime Minister Modi.

It is the fourth meeting of the INDIA bloc. It held its first meeting in Patna on June 23, the second one in Bengaluru on July 17-18 and the third in Mumbai between August 31 and September 1, where the 27 parties had adopted resolutions to unitedly contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Inputs from PTI

Next Story