With eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Nitish and Lalu meet Sonia in Delhi

Updated on Sep 25, 2022 07:39 PM IST

At an INLD rally in Haryana's Fatehabad on Sunday, Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) boss Nitish Kumar said he is not a PM candidate for the 2024 general elections, and stressed that only one front including Congress can defeat the BJP.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar arrives for meeting with Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi on Sunday. RJD chief Lalu Prasad will also be there at the meeting. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/HT)
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar arrives for meeting with Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi on Sunday. RJD chief Lalu Prasad will also be there at the meeting. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/HT)
By | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) supremo Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in Delhi on Sunday evening.

The two political heavyweights were snapped arriving in their respective cars to Gandhi's residence. This was the first meeting between Gandhi, and Kumar and Yadav, in what is being seen as an attempt to unite the opposition camp ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Citing sources, news agency ANI said the meeting was vital not only to strengthen the opposition camp but for various other reasons as Yadav was to seek assurance from Gandhi in the “unity of the opposition to agree for compromises”.

Also Read | Shah has gone crazy, says Lalu in Delhi, ahead of meeting with Sonia

The meeting was the first official one among the heads of the three parties - Congress, JD(U) and RJD - in over five years, and if the purpose of the same is served, then the campaign to unite the opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2024 contest will see a manifold boost.

According to reports, Yadav and Kumar are likely to approach the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha's Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kumar along with several top opposition leaders, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) boss Sharad Pawar and Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, attended an INLD rally in Haryana's Fatehabad on Sunday afternoon.

The move is seen to challenge the saffron camp at a time when as many as eight former Congress chief ministers have joined the BJP.

During his address, Kumar, who recently cut ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and joined hands with Yadav's RJD and Congress to form a new regime in Bihar, said he is not the prime ministerial candidate and later stressed there is no question of a third front. “There should only be one front including Congress, then we can defeat BJP in 2024,” he added.

Kumar's clarification comes after Union home minister Amit Shah lashed out against the Bihar CM saying he severed ties with the BJP to fulfil his prime ministerial ambitions.

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