Next meeting of INDIA coalition likely in MP’s Bhopal
The Day 2 meeting of the 28 opposition parties comes amid speculation of early polls and the formation of a committee to explore the possibility of ‘one nation, one election’
The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on Friday in its third meeting held in Mumbai discussed a slew of issues, including seat-sharing arrangements, key panels, and a public campaign next month.
The Day 2 meeting of the 28 opposition parties comes amid speculation of early polls and the formation of a committee to explore the possibility of ‘one nation, one election’.
The alliance also announced a resolution to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections jointly.
However, the constituents could not decide on appointing a convenor or finalising a logo for the coalition but the third conclave witnessed a clear attempt to ensure that the unity is maintained. The leaders also chose to form a 14-member coordination committee to discuss and decide future course of action.
Meanwhile, according to the people familiar with the development, the next meeting of the INDIA bloc alliance is likely to be held in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
It will be another non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state where the fourth meeting of the alliance would likely take place. The venue is crucial in the backdrop of state assembly elections scheduled before November.
In the Mumbai meeting, which was also attended by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the first time, he insisted on how the leaders are showing flexibility to stick together while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal pointed out that powerful people are trying to break the alliance and insisted that none of the INDIA leaders are eyeing for any post.
“I can see the flexibility among leaders in the way we are approaching things. There are differences of course but I’m extremely impressed by the way those differences are minimized and ironed out,” Gandhi pointed out.
There were speculations that AAP wanted Kejriwal to be projected as the prime minister candidate.
“We did not want a person to be the face of the coalition and thus it was decided to make a coordination committee,” said a senior leader, who attended the coalition meeting in Mumbai.
Gandhi said that the INDIA alliance would demonstrate and prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP are a nexus of corruption. He added that the BJP can’t win the election as the opposition stage.
As soon as the meeting began, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar announced that he didn’t want to become convenor of the alliance. Also, he is not in favour of having such a convenor, insiders revealed.
“We wanted collective leadership and thus did not discuss the convenor position,” said D Raja, general secretary, Communist Party of India (CPI).
Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray maintained that the issue of convenor was not on the agenda. “There is no need for a convenor as we have appointed a coordination committee and some other committees to take decisions on several issues,” Thackeray said.
The 14-member coordination will meet and discuss and finalise the date and other details of the next meeting, which is likely to be held in Bhopal.
The alliance had to cancel the unveiling program of the logo as it was not discussed in the meeting earlier. It was decided to scrap all three sample logos jointly prepared by the three parties of the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition.
“We have decided to seek suggestions from the people before finalising the logo. Very soon the campaign committee that was formed today will ask people to suggest their opinion and based on that a logo will be developed,” said another leader, privy to the development.
Confirming the same, Thackeray said that they all accepted a suggestion on Thursday. “If we are fighting for the rights of the people then the suggestion should also be sought from the people (for logo).”
Kejriwal stressed that the seat-sharing issues need to be resolved by September end.
“Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee was also not happy with the pace the alliance is progressing and stressed that the discussions and decisions need to be taken at the earliest,” said one of the leaders who attended the meeting.
This was hinted at by Gandhi when he said, “We have taken a decision that we will expedite all seat-sharing discussions and decisions and make them happen as soon as possible.”
During Thursday’s meeting, Banerjee proposed to declare a vision document of the alliance on October 2 at Raj Ghat in Delhi, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, which was agreed by all the leaders and preparations will be made accordingly.
The Day 2 meeting of the 28 opposition parties comes amid speculation of early polls and the formation of a committee to explore the possibility of ‘one nation, one election’. The alliance announced a resolution to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections jointly.
The leaders also slammed the government’s move to set up a committee to study the feasibility of one-nation, one-election, alleging it would pose a threat to the federal structure of the country.