Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the national capital on Sunday with the goal of uniting the entire Opposition to oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It is worth noting that this is the first time the three parties have met in over five years. This was also Kumar’s first meeting with Gandhi since breaking with the BJP in August and forming the Bihar government with the RJD and the Congress.
The meeting at Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence is considered very crucial in forging an Opposition unity as efforts are on to reconcile differences between the Congress and some regional parties that have been at loggerheads traditionally, reports PTI.
The meeting is important not only to strengthen the Opposition for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024 but also for other reasons, according to ANI, as the party chief will seek assurance from Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in the ‘unity of the opposition to agree on compromises.’
Lalu and Nitish will also ask Gandhi for permission to approach the Opposition camp by meeting with leaders of regional parties who are politically opposed to the Congress and persuade them to join the alliance.
JDU and RJD leaders are expected to approach the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana, the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, the Left in Kerala, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal ((BJD), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to ANI, Congress would be willing to compromise if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar were given the “huge Right of Coordination” for bringing leaders to the opposition camp.
Earlier in the day, Kumar called on all opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, to unite against the BJP, claiming that this “main front of opposition” will ensure the saffron party suffers a crushing defeat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, however, no congress member attended the rally organised by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana to mark former deputy prime minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary.
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INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, both of whom have a long history of opposing the Congress, shared the stage with other senior leaders including the NCP’s Sharad Pawar, the CPI (M)’s Sitaram Yechury, and Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was also present, in what was seen as a step toward non-BJP unity.
(With Inputs From Agencies)