Opposition Meeting for Crafting Unity and Resilience for 2024 Lok Sabha Elections Amidst the Recent Electoral Setbacks and Suspensions in Parliament Winter Session
The Opposition INDIA bloc is convening a pivotal meeting in Delhi to deliberate on crucial matters, including seat-sharing, devising a joint campaign strategy, and formulating a game plan to counter the BJP in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls. This assembly follows setbacks in recent state elections in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. The meeting gains significance amidst the Winter Session of Parliament, where a record 92 MPs from various Opposition parties were suspended for protests related to the December 13 Lok Sabha security breach.
Suspensions and Boycott
Monday witnessed the suspension of 78 Opposition MPs, marking the highest single-day suspension count. Similarly, 92 MPs from various opposition parties were suspended from the present Parliament winter session till now. With growing discontent, sources suggest that other opposition members are contemplating boycotting the remainder of the Winter Session. This development comes as a response to the unprecedented suspensions and the perceived lack of government response to the security breach.
Electoral Setbacks for Opposition
The meeting comes in the aftermath of setbacks faced in recent assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. Thus, the parties are expected to review their strategy for 2024 General Elections.
INDIA Bloc’s Fourth Meeting
This marks the fourth meeting of the INDIA bloc, with previous gatherings held in Patna, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The last meeting in Mumbai saw 27 Opposition parties adopting resolutions to jointly contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Initially scheduled for December 6, the Delhi meeting was postponed to December 17 due to unavailability of key leaders in the alliance including Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu CM M. K. Stalin, and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren.
Key Attendees and Absentees
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren will not attend the Delhi meeting due to prior commitments. However, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) will be represented by Rajya Sabha MP Mahua Maji, Lok Sabha MP Vijay Hansada, and party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya. Earlier, leaders like Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, and Akhilesh Yadav decided to skip the initially scheduled meeting.
Ready to campaign for alliance partners across the country: Mamata Banerjee
Ahead of the meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, discussing the national political landscape. Mamata expressed her readiness to campaign for alliance partners across the country.
Regional Parties and BJP Challenge
Tejashwi Yadav, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader, emphasized the strength of regional parties within the INDIA bloc and noted their absence in BJP-dominated regions. Despite Congress facing challenges in the Hindi heartland, leaders express determination to counter the BJP with a positive agenda, highlighting people’s issues.
Challenges and Agendas
The leaders face key challenges, including formulating an alternative common program as a counter to the ruling BJP. Decision-making on crucial roles like convener, spokesperson, and common secretariat needs consensus. The Congress, given its recent electoral setbacks, may experience shifts in its position within the alliance.
Moving Forward with Unity Theme
The meeting is expected to reiterate the unity theme, ‘Main Nahin, Hum’ (We, Not Me), as a counter to Prime Minister Modi and the BJP. Undeterred by recent defeats, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge affirms the intention to confront the BJP with a positive agenda and a focus on people’s issues.
The recent BJP victories in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh have intensified the opposition’s resolve to present a united front.
Joint Rallies and Future Plans
Plans for joint rallies by the Opposition are expected to be finalized during the Delhi meeting. Previous attempts, like the one scheduled in Bhopal in October before the state elections, were canceled. The Opposition seeks to regroup, strategize, and present a united front against the BJP in the upcoming elections.