Opposition Meets at Patna for the 2024 Election Plan

23 June, 2023 | Priyanka Sharma

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Ministers gather for opposition meet hosted by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in Patna

Patna: Leaders of the opposition parties from all over the nation will gather in Patna to develop a plan to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The much-anticipated opposition party gathering to create a strategy to present a united front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place in Patna at least provisionally on June 12.

Ever since Nitish Kumar, Bihar’s CM severed connections with the BJP in August of last year, he has been in negotiations with other political groups.

The choice of the meeting date comes just after 22 opposition parties, including the Congress and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), boycotted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Sunday inauguration of the new Parliament building. The opposition parties have accused the prime minister of ignoring President Droupadi Murmu, saying as the first citizen of the country, she should have rightfully led the inauguration ceremony.

The Opposition picked Patna as a venue for its meeting as it represents the 1974 call of total revolution by Jayaprakash Narayan that toppled Indira Gandhi’s majority government. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, suggested holding the meeting in Patna when she spoke with CM Nitish Kumar in April.

The meeting will be hosted by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar with the aim to arrive at a consensus to forge a united Opposition front to take on the BJP. As leaders of several opposition parties arrived in Patna on Thursday, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Jayant Chaudhary decided to skip the conclave due to a “pre-decided family programme.”

Chaudhary, however, hoped the meeting will be an “important milestone in the path of opposition unity.” This came after the Janata Dal (United), which is hosting the meet, said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has not been invited to the event. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati took a dig at the meeting with a sarcastic remark, ‘Dil mile ya na mile, haath milate rahiye.’

She also used another Hindi proverb ‘Muh me Ram, bagal me chhuri’ and said the opposition parties should have cleared their intentions before the meeting. Mayawati said Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats and a key to electoral success but the opposition parties do not seem to be serious about their objectives

Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti were among the leaders who reached Patna ahead of the meeting. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge are expected to reach Patna on Friday morning.

In a letter to opposition figures, Kejriwal urged them to attend the June 23 meeting and address the Center’s ordinance governing the control of services in Delhi. State-specific issues, however, might not be brought up during the first meeting of this kind. The Aam Aadmi Party’s recommendation that opposition leaders clarify their positions on the Centre’s ordinance has caused some disquiet in Congress.

Taking a dig at the Opposition over the mega meeting, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi said all the Opposition leaders accused of “corruption” have come together fearing arrest once Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns for a third term in office after next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Mamata Banerjee has already agreed to Kumar’s “One-On-One” plan, and the JD(U) has already identified approximately 475 seats where a unified opposition can take on the BJP head-on.

The BJP, on the other hand, asserted that the chief minister of Bihar was “daydreaming” about the position of prime minister.