Opposition leaders converge in Patna for strategy to dethrone Modi

Top opposition leaders brainstorming for a common political strategy to unseat PM Modi in 2024 elections

KOLKATA | Updated: 23 June, 2023 1:20 pm IST
The meeting has been convened by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at his residence in Patna.

KOLKATA: Senior leaders of at least 15 Opposition parties, including chief ministers, have gone into a huddle in Bihar’s capital Patna to devise a common strategy to unseat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next year’s elections.

The mega meeting is behind held at the residence of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who went state-to-state over the past months inviting leaders to consider his unity efforts.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren are among the Opposition chief minister attending the meeting.

Among stalwarts are Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and deputy CM son Tejashwi, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, former J&K CMs Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

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AAP Rajya Sabha MPs Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh, Shiv Sena (UTB) chief Uddhav Thackeray, CPI general secretary D Raja also flew down to the Bihar capital for what is being dubbed as first serious Opposition effort towards unity.

Political analysts perceive this meeting as crucial, as the opposition parties find themselves in a “do-or-die” situation. The objective of the gathering is to chart a unified course of action in the run-up to the 2024 general elections.

Nevertheless, experts point out that maintaining unity amidst differing opinions will be a challenge for the opposition parties. Observers will closely watch how long they can sustain their collective front.
The idea of organizing this gathering in Bihar was proposed by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee during her meeting with Nitish Kumar in Kolkata on April 24.

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In order to bring the opposition leaders together, Nitish Kumar along with his deputy Tejasvi Yadav travelled to different states, met regional leaders personally and invited them for the meeting.

Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) was in an alliance with the BJP until August 2022 when the party formed a coalition with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, Congress, and the Left Front to form the government.

Just before the meeting, AAP had threatened to boycott the meeting if Congress did not support it over the controversial Delhi services ordinance promulgated by the Central government, prompting speculations whether he will skip the huddle. Though he was seen at the venue, it is still not clear if his demands are met.

JDU leaders maintain that this meeting is expected to bring about a significant change in the dynamics among opposition political parties.

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