Opposition unity: Kharge, Nitish, Pawar, Raja, Yechury meet
Efforts to cement opposition unity gathered pace with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar holding talks with Sitaram Yechury and D Raja
Efforts to cement opposition unity gathered pace on Thursday with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holding talks with Left veterans Sitaram Yechury and D Raja.
The BJP, however, took a dig at Kumar's outreach saying "the PM post for 2024 is not vacant".
As part of the efforts to bring several opposition parties together on a common platform to defeat the BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Pawar met Kharge later on Thursday evening, where Rahul Gandhi was also present and pledged to take forward the process of opposition unity.
After the meeting, Kharge said yesterday they held talks with Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav to bring together opposition parties to help save the country, democracy and protect the Constitution, besides ensuring freedom of speech and expression, providing employment to youth and checking inflation and misuse of autonomous bodies.
"We have decided to unite together and fight and we will talk to all the parties one after the other. Yesterday we met two parties with Congress and today Pawar sahib has come and we have decided that we will meet everyone, talk to them and move forward unitedly," Kharge told reporters.
"I want that we should all work together in the nation's interest and this is what Pawar sahib wants and said that all the like-minded parties should work together in national interest," he also said.
Pawar said all the parties have the same thinking, "but, mere thinking will not help and efforts should be made for unity".
"There are some political parties who have similar ideologies, efforts should be made to bring them together and Kharge is the leader of opposition and he has made this effort which will benefit everyone. This is a beginning. After this, other opposition parties such as Mamata Banerjee's TMC or Arvind Kejriwal's AAP or other parties with whom talks have not taken place, efforts should be made to bring them together under this process for unity," he said after the meeting.
Rahul Gandhi also said, "What Kharge ji and Pawar ji has said that this process of uniting the opposition has started. This is a beginning and all parties are committed towards this process." "Stronger, together! We stand united for a better, brighter and an equal future for our people. Along with Shri Rahul Gandhi ji met NCP President, Shri Sharad Pawar ji and had a discussion on the future course of action," Kharge said on Twitter while sharing a picture with Pawar and Gandhi.
Meanwhile, more deliberations with other leaders are expected in the coming days, even as the Congress will convene a meeting of top opposition leaders very soon.
Earlier, Kumar met Yechury and Raja and then left the national capital. He also held a meeting with Aam Aadmi Party's national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, besides with Congress leaders.
After his meeting with Kumar, CPI-M general secretary Yechury said seat adjustments will be made at the state level and indicated that a third front was a possibility.
"Efforts for opposition unity have picked up the pace. An opposition coalition will be formed and seat adjustments will be done at the state level," the CPI(M) general secretary said.
"In Kerala, the Congress and our party are arch rivals. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not in a fight there," he said.
He further said that the third front that is going to be formed will always be after the elections.
"But in India, fronts are formed post polls such as United Front in 1996, in 1998 NDA was formed after elections, UPA formed post polls in 2004," Yechury said.
Yechury later tweeted, "With Bihar CM Shri Nitish Kumar to carry forward the efforts to unite secular democratic parties to safeguard the Indian Republic, Constitution and democracy, severely assaulted by the BJP and Modi government. Defeat the BJP in order to save India and people’s livelihoods." The Bihar CM also met CPI general secretary Raja.
"Had a meeting with JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Shri Nitish Kumar to discuss broad issues of opposition unity against RSS-BJP. The country is in turmoil and all sections of society are vocal against BJP misrule. Unity of secular-democratic forces is must to protect our democracy and people," said Raja in a tweet after the meeting.
Even as the Bihar chief minister stepped up efforts to forge opposition unity and is set to meet some more parties including the BRS and Samajwadi Party, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav evaded a direct reply on whether his party would join an opposition alliance to take on the BJP but said people of the country want change of power.
Responding to reporters query in Indore on whether his party would join the opposition alliance, Yadav said, "This is a big question. What name are you giving to it (the grand alliance)? But I know one thing that people of Uttar Pradesh will unseat the BJP." He added that citizens of the country want a change of power.
Last month, after his party's national executive meeting, the SP chief had said his party would play a key role in the formation of an opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier on March 17, Yadav had met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata and had said that both Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) and SP would stay away from both the Congress and the BJP and indicated possible talks with other regional players ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, the BJP called Kejriwal the "Natwarlal of Indian politics" and said he has given the biggest example of "political conversion" by deciding to ally with the "coalition of corrupts".
"This is a unity of corruption, politics of division, ambition for position," said BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala, alleging, "All corrupts are coming together because of this".
He said he can understand the "political helplessness" of Nitish Kumar to forge an alliance with the Congress and the RJD, but he failed to understand why Kejriwal, a "political pinocchio", decided to make a U-turn on corruption.
Union minister Giriraj Singh also took a dig at Kumar, saying "the PM post for 2024 is not vacant".
"Everyone wants to become the Prime Minister. People should know that the Prime Minister's post for 2024 is not vacant," he said while addressing a gathering at an event organised here at the East Central Railway zone office at Mahendru ghat.
The Bihar chief minister and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday met AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Without naming Kumar, Singh said, "Those indulging in appeasement politics can't think of providing employment to the people."
- D Raja
- Sitaram Yechury
- Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
- anti-BJP united opposition
- NCP chief Sharad Pawar
- Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge