JD-U and RJD Advise Congress to Accommodate Regional Allies to Fight BJP
The leaders from Opposition parties during a joint press conference after their meeting, in Patna, on June 23. Image Courtesy: PTI
Patna: Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), two major allies of the Mahagathbandhan coalition, which is part of the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), advised Congress on Monday not to fight alone but unitedly as INDIA to defeat the BJP. This comes a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party defeated the Congress in three states in the Hindi heartland,
Though Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also the de facto chief of the JD-U, is yet to react to the Congress' defeat as he is unwell and resting at his official residence since last week, his party leaders have come out with suggestions to follow his widely reported strategy to defeat the BJP. Similarly, RJD leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav have not yet publicly reacted.
Senior JD-U and RJD leaders in Bihar expressed views reflecting their disagreement with the Congress for ignoring regional allies and not including them in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh.
"Only a united opposition alliance, INDIA, can defeat BJP. Our leader Nitish Kumar had repeatedly stated this in successive opposition alliance meetings. In the recently concluded elections, INDIA did not contest unitedly. The election outcome is a result of this. In the future, a united opposition alliance will have to contest polls," said JD-U leader Vijay Kumar Choudhary, who is Bihar's Finance Minister, to the media.
Two days ahead of INDIA’s meeting called by the Congress president, Choudhary, considered close to Kumar, said that Congress should give respectful honour and share to regional allies. "Congress should be more accommodative and work towards a united opposition alliance," he said.
Another JD-U leader, Neeraj Kumar, advocated for Kumar’s formula of ‘one seat, one candidate’ for the opposition alliance against BJP, considering it the best strategy to defeat BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls by contesting unitedly. "The opposition alliance can defeat BJP if we stand and contest united," he said.
RJD spokesperson Ejaz Ahmad remarked that the Congress should have a large heart to honour regional allies. He criticised the Congress for not acknowledging regional allies in the recently held assembly polls. "There was no united show of the opposition alliance, only of Congress. It was BJP versus Congress and not INDIA versus BJP," Ahmad said.
Last month, Kumar criticised the Congress for not actively contributing to strengthening the opposition alliance, highlighting the party's limited interest and preoccupation with ongoing state Assembly elections. He stressed that Congress should prioritise INDIA.
In Bihar, the Mahagathbandhan comprises JD-U, RJD, Congress, and Left parties, which remain united and optimistic, aiming to reverse their defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Mahagathbandhan leaders have consistently stressed that the opposition alliance, known as INDIA, aims solely to defeat the BJP.
Since August of the previous year, when Kumar broke ties with the BJP, formed the Mahagathbandhan, and assumed power, he has consistently called on all opposition parties to unite to challenge the BJP.
In the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA secured 39 out of 40 parliamentary seats, with Congress winning only one seat and RJD failing to secure any seats, marking a significant setback for the party.
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