New Delhi: The members of the Coordination Committee of the Opposition’s INDIA alliance met at the residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the national capital on Wednesday. The Coordination Committee decided to initiate the process of seat-sharing discussions among member parties, emphasizing the need for expediency in making these determinations.
A joint statement released after the meeting highlighted the absence of Abhishek Banerjee from the All India Trinamool Congress, who couldn’t attend due to a summon by the Enforcement Directorate, which he claimed was a result of Bharatiya Janata Party’s alleged vindictive politics.
During the meeting, it was agreed to conduct joint public meetings across various regions of the country. The first of these public meetings is scheduled to take place in Bhopal during the first week of October, focusing on issues such as the escalating prices, unemployment, and corruption attributed to the BJP government. The meeting attendees also committed to championing the cause of conducting a caste census.
The opposition INDIA bloc affirmed their intentions to hold their maiden collective public meeting in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which is gearing up for upcoming elections, with seat-sharing talks to commence promptly.
The issues to be addressed in this gathering include mounting inflation, unemployment, corruption, and the necessity for a caste-based population census. Today’s meeting was convened at the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar and was attended by 12 of the 14-member panel, conducted amidst a backdrop of controversy surrounding DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on Sanatan Dharma.
K C Venugopal, a member of the panel and the Congress General Secretary, explained that Abhishek Banerjee’s absence from the TMC was due to an Enforcement Directorate summons, which he accused the BJP and the Prime Minister of orchestrating as part of “vendetta politics.”
#WATCH | On INDIA alliance Coordination Committee meeting, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal says, “The Coordination Committee has decided to start the process for determining seat-sharing. It was decided that member parties would hold talks and decide at the earliest. The… pic.twitter.com/JnOmapYJ7Z
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Reading from the joint statement, Venugopal shared that the coordination committee had decided to initiate the process of determining seat-sharing arrangements, with member parties responsible for engaging in discussions and reaching decisions promptly. The committee also resolved to organize joint public meetings across different regions of the country.
The first of these public meetings is scheduled for Bhopal in the first week of October and will address issues such as rising prices, unemployment, and the alleged corruption within the BJP government. The participants in the meeting unanimously agreed to prioritize the matter of conducting a caste census.
Venugopal also disclosed that the coordination committee had empowered the media sub-group to determine the names of anchors whose shows would not feature representatives from any of the INDIA parties.
Present at the meeting were prominent leaders such as Sharad Pawar (NCP), K C Venugopal (Congress), Hemant Soren (JMM), D Raja (CPI), Jawed Ali Khan (SP), T R Baalu (DMK), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Raghav Chadha (AAP), Sanjay Jha (JD(U)), Omar Abdullah (NC), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), and Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).
Hemant Soren arrived at the meeting later than the others. The resolution issued on September 1 after the third bloc meeting in Mumbai expressed the intention of the parties to contest elections collectively whenever possible and to promptly initiate seat-sharing arrangements in various states.
Opposition leaders acknowledged that while states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar have sorted out their arrangements, negotiations remain challenging for Delhi, Punjab, and West Bengal.
The meeting also focused on finalizing campaigns and rallies for the coming days, but no specific decisions were announced.
Over two dozen opposition parties have united under the banner of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to present a united front against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
During the first meeting of the Opposition bloc in Patna in June, it was decided to select the strongest candidate from each constituency for the Lok Sabha polls.
Sources indicate that leaders from various opposition parties are pushing for an early seat-sharing agreement to ensure that a joint opposition candidate is fielded against BJP candidates in Lok Sabha constituencies. Nevertheless, many leaders stress the importance of setting aside personal egos and vested interests to reach a consensus on this matter.