Coalition of 26 Opp Parties Named INDIA – Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and others at a press conference after the opposition parties' meeting, in Bengaluru, Tuesday, July 18, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak
New Delhi: The alliance of anit-BJP Opposition parties for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be called INDIA (Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance). This was decided in the two-day meeting of 26 Opposition parties in Bengaluru.
The Opposition meeting also released a joint declaration that demanded the implementation of the caste census while asserting that they had come together to defeat the "hatred and violence being manufactured against minorities" as well as "rising crimes against women, Dalits, tribals and Kashmiri Pandits".
The 'Samuhik Sankalp (joint resolution)' also expressed steadfast resolve to safeguard the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution.
"The character of our republic is being severely assaulted in a systematic manner by the BJP. We are at a most crucial juncture in our nation's history. The foundational pillars of the Indian Constitution – secular democracy, economic sovereignty, social justice and federalism – are being methodically and menacingly undermined," the statement said.
The 26 Opposition parties also expressed "grave concern" over the "humanitarian tragedy" that has "destroyed" Manipur.
They also condemned the "brazen misuse" of agencies by the BJP government against political rivals that, they said, was “undermining democracy.”
Addressing the media after the meeting on Tuesday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Opposition parties had come together to fight Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and whatever minor differences there were between the parties, have been put aside "for the sake of the people.
Referring to the hurried call for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance meeting on Tuesday, Kharge said: "After seeing everything, Narendra Modi is calling the NDA meeting with 30 parties. I don't know how there are 30 parties," Kharge said, adding, "Earlier, they never cared about their alliance partners. Many people left; now, he is calling them one by one. Their party president is going to every state now."
Kharge also announced that an 11-member coordination committee would be set up, and the names of the respective committee members would be decided in the next meeting in Mumbai. The Bengaluru meeting was the second time the opposition parties met; the first meeting (of 16 Opposition parties) was held in Patna in June 2023.
The parties agreed to set up a secretariat for campaign management, likely in Delhi, Kharge informed the reporters.
Kharge also attacked BJP for using autonomous bodies such as CBI and ED against opposition leaders and their workers.
Addressing reporters, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said the Opposition meeting was fruitful.
"BJP, can you challenge INDIA?" Banerjee asked while adding that the country needs to be saved from the ongoing disaster.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal highlighted that the ruling Central government have destroyed the economy and sold "railway, airports, land and everything to their people."
He alleged that not a single sector of the Indian economy has grown in the nine years of the Modi government.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the opposition's fight is for the "voice of the nation."
"We have all decided to come up with an action plan where we will unitedly talk about what we are going to do," Gandhi said.
The 26 Opposition parties include the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India Forward Bloc, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M), and Kerala Congress (Joseph).
(inputs from PTI)
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