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All-party Opposition meet ahead of 2024 elections today; all you must know

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is hosting the crucial meeting in which most of the non-BJP parties are taking part as they plan to take on the BJP in the next year's general election

Opposition meet, Opposition meet in Patna

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Opposition is going to hold a mega meeting in Patna today.

The meeting is the brainchild of Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar in order to get the Opposition on the same page against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Nitish, as one might recall, dumped the BJP as an ally last year. But the question is whether the Opposition can stay on the same page.

Let's take a look:

What do we know about the meet?

The idea of hosting a meeting of Opposition leaders in Patna was first floated by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had invoked the memory of Jayaprakash Narayan upon meeting Kumar in Kolkata in April.

Kumar has been advocating for "Opposition unity" ever since severing ties with the BJP in August.

Indian Express reported that the Opposition leaders would have lunch and dinner at CM's house on 1 Arrey Marg. 

The menu is said to include Bihari cuisine.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, Banerjee, Delhi CM and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, party leader Abhishek Banerjee, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin are among the leaders expected to attend the Opposition meeting.

What's the aim of the Opposition meet?

The Opposition is meeting to create a united front to defeat the BJP and to unite behind a joint candidate.

NDTV quoted sources as saying that no common minimum programme would be released and only plans would be debated. The release of a common statement also appears to be on the cards.

"There is a clear-cut agenda to strengthen the united Opposition, chalk out our strategies and common minimum programme, and to put a joint Opposition candidate against BJP and its allies to defeat them in the next elections," a JDU leader told NewsClick.
 
"This meeting is a starting point, and nothing big is expected, but a united Opposition will be a reality after it," the leader added.

'BJP will be nowhere to be seen'

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while addressing the party workers in Patna ahead of the mega meet of the Opposition leaders, said that in the upcoming Assembly elections in Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Congress will win and "BJP will be nowhere to be seen."

'We will win India'

Raising the pitch for a united Opposition front in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that "Congress' ideology can never be separated from Bihar".

He also said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was instrumental in bringing together Opposition leaders from across the country.

Kharge added, "If we win Bihar, we will win India."

'Hope gathering is constructive'

On Thursday, Mamata Banerjee said she hoped the gathering would be constructive and said that the BJP must be defeated in the next Lok Sabha polls to save the country from disaster.

Banerjee, who has been critical of the BJP's "mishandling" of the situation in Manipur, said it is due to the policies of the saffron camp that the northeastern state is on the boil and the convening of the all-party meeting on 24 June was a "late decision".

"Tomorrow is our Opposition meeting. We hope it will be good and collective decisions will be taken. I feel that to save the country from disaster, people will vote against the BJP," she told reporters.

Who are not attending the meet?

1. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati was not invited to the meeting. Reacting to the development, she said it does not seem from the attitude of the Opposition parties that they are serious about their objective in Uttar Pradesh.

2. Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Jayant Chaudhary will skip the Opposition leaders' meeting in Patna on Friday due to a pre-decided family programme. However, Chaudhary hoped the meeting would be an "important milestone in the path of opposition unity."

3. Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal, and Karnataka's Janata Dal (Secular) will also not be in attendance.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: Jun 23 2023 | 12:51 PM IST

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