I.N.D.I.A. to declare national agenda today
NCP's Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Uddhav Thackeray, Ashok Chavan of the Congress and other MVA leaders spoke of a concrete 'common minimum programme' to take on the NDA
A day ahead of the third meeting of the Indian Nationalist Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on 31 August and 1 September, leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi discussed their plans at a press conference.
Key voices at the presser included those of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray and Ashok Chavan of the Indian National Congress, among others.
Pawar said that while seat sharing arrangements—a topic of considerable speculation in the press and among the general public—were being discussed informally, the focus of the meet was to draft a "common minimum programme" at the earliest.
"People are looking for an alternative forum (to the BJP-dominated NDA)," said Pawar, underlining the importance of rolling out the common minimum programme in the various states quickly.
Thackeray, underlining the alignment across the parties in the alliance, said, "It's a fact that parties of divergent ideologies have joined hands. All have the common objective of protecting democracy." Incidentally, the Shiv Sena leader was photographed receiving a rakhi from All-India Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on the occasion of Rakshabandhan yesterday,
Thackeray added that the NDA government had "failed on all fronts", and so it was time for the people to look forward to a "change" in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
A total of 63 representatives of the 28 parties in the alliance will be meeting in Mumbai today and tomorrow. This is their third conference—the first was in Patna and the second in Bengaluru, at which point INDIA comprised of 26 parties.
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan, of the INC, said, "If we are united, it should not be difficult to dislodge the BJP."
Chavan pointed out, "In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP polled 22.9 crore votes, while the Opposition parties secured 23.4 crore votes. Since the Opposition parties were not united, the BJP came to power again."
Pawar concurred, saying that the INDIA bloc would prove a "formidable alternative to bring about political change".