Key Opposition meet likely after Karnataka government formation - Hindustan Times

Key Opposition meet likely after Karnataka government formation

May 14, 2023 05:50 PM IST

In the last few weeks, the initiative of Bihar CM to form a larger opposition front has gained momentum.

Even as the Congress and opposition parties are emboldened with the Karnataka assembly election results, all eyes are on the proposed meeting of at least 12 major opposition parties to be held in Patna soon to give shape to a larger opposition front to take on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar met NCP president Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Thursday (File Photo)
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar met NCP president Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Thursday (File Photo)

Insiders in the grand alliance (GA) say the proposed meet would be held soon after the new chief minister of the Congress-led government in Karnataka is announced and oath taking ceremony is over.

The Congress on Saturday swept the Karnataka assembly election winning 136 seats while BJP got 65 seats and Janata Dal (United) 19.

Also Read: Will be happy to host Opposition meet after Karnataka elections: Nitish

“Right now, the Congress top leadership is busy with government formation in Karnataka. Once it is done in the next few days, the dates for the opposition meet will be finalised in consultation with Congress and leaders of other parties,” said a senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader.

There was speculation that the proposed meeting would be held on May 18 in Patna. However, according to the people familiar with the matter, the GA leaders are still waiting for a response from the Congress and would fix a date suitable for leaders of major opposition parties.

“May 18 was a tentative date. But now, there are chances that the meeting might be held at a later date preferably in the third week of this month,” said another GA leader.

Senior JD (U) leader and finance minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said that the date and venue of the proposed meeting would be decided with partners shortly. “We are in discussion with partners for the proposed meeting to form a bigger grand alliance. The date will be finalised soon,” Chaudhary said.

People quoted above said the GA leaders from the RJD, the JD(U) and the Congress have held consultations on various agendas of the meeting with several regional parties in the last few weeks and the meeting is expected to take place in Patna.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s initiative to get all opposition parties on board to project a unified fight against the BJP in the next year’s general elections has evoked positive responses from several regional satraps.

In the last few weeks, the initiative of Bihar CM to form a larger opposition front has gained momentum with Kumar having met several CMs and regional parties, opposed to the BJP.

Last month, Kumar met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee. Earlier, he had met Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja and announced that as part of his outreach, he would meet more leaders.

Earlier this week, Kumar also met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar in Mumbai and backed the idea of him being the face of the opposition alliance, saying there will be “nothing more delightful than that.” He also met Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray at ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.

The meeting is expected to be the launching pad for the formation of a new front and the announcement of the convenor of the joint coalition, which is working on the strategy of ‘one against one’ by putting one common opposition candidate against BJP-led NDA nominees in at least 500 parliamentary seats in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“The meeting will be held in Patna. The venue of the meeting is yet to be finalised,” said a GA leader, adding that there are chances the meeting could be held either at CM Kumar’s residence or at the residence of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Also Read: Bihar: Nitish Kumar congratulates Congress as GA hails Karnataka poll results

The RJD chief is in Patna for the last two weeks having returned from New Delhi post a kidney transplant on April 28.

GA leaders said the proposed meeting is expected to witness the participation of top leaders from Congress, RJD, JD(U), TMC, JMM, Samajwadi Party, NCP, Shiv Sena, DMK, AAP, CPI, CPM, CPI-ML( liberation) and few other regional parties who are keen on joining the new front. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand CM, Soren, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are expected to be prominent attendees, they said.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the Karnataka assembly elections on Saturday was hailed by Bihar’s GA with party leaders extending wishes to the Congress party for their resounding victory with Kumar leading the charge with his wishes.

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