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Nitish, Lalu to Attend Opposition Alliance Meet to Ensure a Collective Fight to Defeat BJP

Lalu Prasad Yadav's words matter as he is considered one of the top leaders who played an important role in consolidating the opposition alliance in its present form.
Lalu Prasad Nitish Kumar

Lalu Prasad (left) and Nitish Kumar (right). Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: A day ahead of the fourth meeting of the Opposition alliance- Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) – in Delhi, all eyes are on Bihar chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar and RJD chief and former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav. Both will attend the meeting and will likely play a decisive role in finalising seat sharing and agenda to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Lalu Prasad Yadav clarified that all (opposition parties) would be together and collectively fight to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Before leaving for Delhi with Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav told the media that the opposition alliance is united and would fight to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi this time. 

His words matter as he is considered one of the top leaders who played an important role in consolidating the opposition alliance in its present form.

Besides, Lalu Prasad Yadav is vocal in public to defeat BJP. In recent months, he announced that nothing is more important than to oust the BJP.

Kumar, who is defacto chief of JD-U, will also leave for Delhi on Monday evening to attend INDIA's meeting. Both Lalu Prasad Yadav and Kumar have been 'pro-Mandal'. They are likely to stress the need to play the Mandal card along with development and to counter BJP's Kamandal card with development in the meeting of the opposition alliance.

A political watcher said the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar had fulfilled two demands, including releasing a caste survey report and increasing reservations. This may be a game changer if Lalu Prasad Yadav and Kumar manage to convince Congress, a major ally of INDIA, to use it at the national level as a major promise. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has already strongly favoured to conduct a country-wide caste census.

Last week, after the BJP defeated the Congress in three states in the Hindi heartland and questions were raised over the opposition alliance, Kumar then categorically stated that a united opposition (INDIA) is a must to challenge the BJP. Kumar said he wants every opposition party to work together and fight in the Lok Sabha election.

Kumar has repeatedly clarified that he doesn't want any post in the alliance but "only a strong and united Opposition."

But some of his party's leaders on Sunday (December 17) again raised the issue of naming Kumar as the convenor of the opposition alliance. A big hoarding was put up outside the JD-U state headquarters here with a clear message in Hindi: "Desh Mange Nitish Kumar 2024 Mein" (The country wants Nitish Kumar in 2024).

JD-U's Vayavashaik and Udhyog unit has also launched a "Hate Bazaar - Nitish Kumar" campaign to promote his face for the top post. A senior JD-U leader and Bihar minister, Ashok Choudhary, said that Kumar is a capable leader to lead the opposition alliance.

A JD-U MLA, Rinku Singh, claimed that Kumar is the best prime ministerial candidate for the opposition alliance.

Bihar's ruling grand coalition (Mahagathbandan) —comprising JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI(ML), CPI(M) and CPI—is considered a strong political force in the state compared with the BJP-led NDA.

In recent days, all the opinion polls and surveys have given a clear-cut advantage to Mahagathbandan over the BJP-led NDA. Mahagathbandan will play safely this time, aiming to reverse their defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Mahagathbandhan leaders have consistently stressed the need to defeat the BJP.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) 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.

The BJP's top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, are reportedly worried about the BJP contesting the 2024 election in Bihar on its own. Recently, three small regional parties joined the BJP. It was reflected in the fact that Shah had visited Bihar nearly half a dozen times since August 2022, when Kumar broke ties with the BJP, formed the Mahagathbandhan, and assumed power.

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