What are the key takeaways from the Patna Opposition meeting?
The next meeting in Shimla around July 12 will finalise the modalities of the front.
At the meeting of Opposition parties in Patna on Friday, 23 June, to chalk out a roadmap for the formation of an anti-BJP front for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, it was decided that they would fight unitedly against the current BJP regime at the Centre. The next meeting in Shimla around July 12 will finalise the modalities of the front.
The meeting was hosted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin (DMK), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (TMC), her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab's Bhagwant Mann (AAP), Jharkhand's Hemant Soren (JMM), Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Maharashtra's former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena-UBT), and NCP president Sharad Pawar are among the leaders attending the first high-level Opposition meeting.
Others who attended the meeting are Omar Abdullah (National Conference), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPIML), D Raja (CPI), KC Venugopal (INC), Abhishek Banerjee (AITC), Derek O’Brien (AITC), Firhad Hakim (AITC), Sanjay Raut (SS-UBT), Aaditya Thackeray (SS-UBT), Supriya Sule (NCP), Praful Patel (NCP), Manoj Jha (RJD), Sanjay Jha (RJD), Raghav Chaddha (AAP) and Lalan Singh (JDU).
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We have decided to prepare a common agenda and will take decisions in the next meeting on how to move forward. We will meet again in July in Shimla to prepare an agenda on how to move ahead together while working in our respective states to fight BJP in 2024.”
Adding, Rahul Gandhi said, "We may have some differences but have decided to work together with flexibility and will work to protect our ideology".
After the Opposition meet, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said “The last meeting we held in Delhi wasn't fruitful, but this meeting has been good.”
However, AAP, which was a part of the meeting, did not attend the press briefing. Instead it issued a statement thanking 11 parties for supporting stand on Centre's ordinance. It specifically criticised Congress for not making its stand clear on the issue.
The Congress President Kharge had earlier said a decision on whether to oppose the Centre's ordinance on the control of administrative services in Delhi would be taken before the Parliament session. He wondered why it was being talked about elsewhere when it was a matter that pertains to Parliament.
"Opposing it or proposing it does not happen outside, it happens in Parliament. Before Parliament begins, all parties decide what issues they have to work on together. They (AAP) know it and even their leaders come to our all-party meetings. I don't know why there is so much publicity about it outside," Kharge said.
The key takeaways from the meeting:
1. At least 15 Opposition parties agreed to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together, as announced by the party leaders after the meet.
2. The next meeting of the Opposition parties will be chaired by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and will be held in Shimla in July.
3. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge after the meet said that common agenda for fighting 2024 LS polls together to be finalised in next meeting.
4. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said, “We have come together in the interest of the nation to save the country; those in power at Centre are against national interest.”
5. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said the united front will get the blessings of the public just like the JP movement, which was led by Jayaprakash Narayan.
6. After the meeting, Mamata said, “We have resolved on three things: We are united. We will fight together. Don't call us Opposition; we are also citizens of this country. If this (Modi) government wins again, then it will be the last general elections in India.”
7. AAP released a separate statement after the meet criticising Congress for not taking a stand on the Ordinance.
8. PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti remarked, “We can’t let Gandhi’s India to become Godse’s country.”
9. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “Today, Bihar is witnessing a new political revolution. We will work together to save the nation and ensure how the nation and its people will progress.
10. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said, “We may have differences. We might differ on ideology. But the nation is one. We have united to protect the idea of India. A good beginning has been made and the conclusion will also be favourable.”