Heads of 15 opposition parties and CMs of six states to meet in Patna on Friday to discuss strategies to take on BJP in 2024 polls | India News

PATNA: Heads of 15 opposition parties will be meeting here on Friday to discuss a common minimum programme (CMP) and a roadmap for formation of a “main front” to take on the BJP-led NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“How to put ‘one-against-one’ candidate against the BJP and its allies in the maximum number of the 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country, will be the main focus of the first-ever gathering of opposition leaders in the recent years,” JD(U) chief spokesperson K C Tyagi told TOI on Thursday.
The much-awaited meeting, convened by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, will begin at 11am (on Friday) at his official residence at 1, Anney Marg, here.
The chief ministers of six states (West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Punjab and Jharkhand) and at least five former chief ministers (Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Akhilesh Yadav and Uddhav Thackeray) will be attending the meeting.
However, regional satraps like Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (BJD), his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao (BRS), former Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati (BSP), Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (YSR Congress), Sukhbir Singh Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal) and HD Kumaraswamy (JD-S) were not given invitation for the Friday meeting “because they did not clear their commitment towards fighting against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” Tyagi said.
A day before the crucial meeting, fissures seemed to have appeared in the opposition camp, with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) saying that it will walk out of the meeting if the Congress does not promise its support against the Centre’s ordinance on the control of administrative services in Delhi.
Now, all eyes are set on the Friday meeting and whether the Centre’s ordinance on the control of administrative services in the national capital would be a key part of the discussions as Kejriwal and his party want.
Keeping cards close to its chest, the Congress has so far kept its stand ambiguous as to whether it would support the AAP or not on the issue of the ordinance.
The opposition parties which will be attending the meeting are Congress, TMC, AAP, NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT), DMK, JMM, Samajwadi Party, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, PDP, RJD, JD(U), CPI, CPM and CPI-ML.
The Samajwadi Party would be the only party from Uttar Pradesh attending the meeting with BSP supremo Mayawati not invited and the Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary set to skip the conclave due to a family programme.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, her Delhi, Punjab and Tamil Nadu counterparts Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann and M K Stalin, the CPI-ML general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti arrived in the Bihar capital by Thursday evening.
Other prominent opposition leaders like Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, Thackeray, and Akhilesh Yadav are expected to land at Patna airport by Friday morning.
West Bengal CM Banerjee called on the RJD boss Lalu Yadav, former Bihar CM Rabri Devi and Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav at the latter’s residence here. Soon after meeting Lalu, Mamata said, “We will fight together like a collective family to take on BJP one-on-one (in 2024).”
Bihar’s ruling JD(U) and the RJD, the main hosts, said the Friday meeting is a starting point for the Opposition parties to come together to take on the BJP-led NDA in the next Lok Sabha polls.
“Everyone is clear that the Friday meeting will set the tone for a change at the hustings in the days ahead. A change is the need of the hour as people’s issues need to be brought to the fore. The next general elections should be fought on issues affecting the people. …. It is a great step, since Nitish Kumar and I have come together, we have tried to get as many opposition parties together as possible,” RJD leader Tejashwi said.

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