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Ahead of INDIA Bloc Meeting, Lalu Says BJP’s Defeat More Important Than Naming Convenor

“Everything has been finalised and formally it will be decided at the (Mumbai) meeting”, the RJD leader said.
Lalu Yadav.

Lalu Yadav. Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: A week ahead of third meeting of Opposition alliance -- Indian National
Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) -- in Mumbai, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief
Lalu Prasad underlined that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) defeat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is a more important issue than who would be the convenor of the alliance.

Lalu Prasad, who is visiting his native village of Phulwaria in Gopalganj district on Tuesday,
told the local media there that nothing was more important than the fight against BJP to oust
it from power in the country. “Abhi desh se BJP ko hatane ki ladai hai, humlog BJP ko satta
se bedakhal karne ke liye ek saath aye hai”, he said in Hindi.

The RJD leader made it clear that not only Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, de facto chief of Janta Dal -United -- but anyone could become convenor of INDIA. “Everything has been finalised and formally it will be decided at the meeting”, he added.

After the INDIA bloc’s second meeting in Bengaluru last month, Kumar had said he had no
wish to become convenor of the alliance. "My only aim is to unite the Opposition to defeat BJP," he had said. In July, BJP leaders claimed that Kumar was unhappy over not being named as convenor.

Lalu Prasad also indicated a change in the Opposition alliance’s strategy to take on
BJP. Earlier, it was reported that there would be a national convenor of INDIA, but he hinted that there would be convenor for three or four states as also a convenor for each state.

“The Opposition alliance INDIA’s main aim is to defeat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections” said the former chief minister and one of the top Opposition leaders, who played a key role in the formation of the INDIA bloc.

Contrary to reports in local Hindi dailies since last year and allegations by Opposition BJP leaders in Bihar time and again, the RJD leader refuted that there was any deal with Kumar to make his younger son Tejashwi the Chief Minister. He is currently the deputy chief minister.

Soon after Kumar dumped BJP and joined hands with the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance and formed the government in August 2022, BJP leaders accused Kumar and Lalu Prasad of striking a ‘deal’ to make Tejashwi the Chief Minister.

“I really want to see Tejashwi as a CM. It is like any father’s desire. But, at present we are fighting to defeat BJP and oust Narendra Modi as PM,” he said.

He said thousands of RJD workers also wanted to see Tejashwi as CM and there was nothing
wrong in it. “At an appropriate time and, we will decide together, but now our agenda is different, it is to stop BJP”.

The ruling Mahagathbandhan consists of JD-U led by Nitish Kumar, RJD led by Lalu Prasad,
Congress, and three Left parties—CPI(ML), CPI(M), and CPI. It is considered a strong
political force in Bihar compared with the BJP-led NDA that was recently joined by three small
regional parties. The top BJP leadership, including PM Modi and Home Minister
Amit Shah, are said to be reportedly worried about BJP facing the next election on its own in Bihar. It
is one of the states where the saffron party is set to face a significant challenge from
the ruling Mahagathbandhan.

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