All eyes on opposition meeting in Mumbai; alliance logo, seat sharing on agenda

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said that a few more political parties were likely to join the opposition INDIA bloc during its upcoming meeting.

New Delhi: As the race for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls hots up, all eyes are on the opposition bloc INDIA’s meeting in Mumbai where a logo of the coalition is likely to be unveiled and strategic issues including seat sharing are expected to be deliberated upon.

There is also talk of the 26-party opposition alliance expanding with some more regional outfits joining it in Mumbai as top leaders in opposition ranks huddle for a two-day conclave starting August 31 in the capital city of Maharashtra where the BJP-Shiv Sena government is in power.

The INDIA bloc’s first meeting was held in Patna in June, while the second one took place in Bengaluru in mid-July. The Bengaluru conclave had finalised the name of the bloc – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

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Ahead of the Mumbai meeting, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said that a few more political parties were likely to join the opposition INDIA bloc during its upcoming meeting.

However, the JD(U) leader, who played an instrumental role in bringing together different parties opposed to the BJP, did not reveal the names of the likely entrants but said that poll-related modalities such as seat-sharing will be discussed at the meeting.

Talking to reporters in Patna, Kumar said, “We will discuss the INDIA bloc’s strategies for next year’s general elections during the upcoming meeting in Mumbai. Issues such as seat-sharing will be discussed and several other agendas will be finalised. A few more political parties will join our coalition.”  “I wish to unite the maximum number of parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. I am working in that direction… I have no desire for myself,” he said.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) leader Sanjay Raut had said last week that there is a possibility that new political parties, especially from northeast India, will take part in the two-day gathering.

The Rajya Sabha MP had said leaders of the INDIA alliance, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and MPs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, will participate in the third meeting of the bloc in Grand Hyatt, a luxury hotel in suburban Mumbai.

“The INDIA (alliance) logo will be unveiled (during the meeting). Discussions are on for the same. We are trying to reach out to 140 crore Indians. The logo will symbolise the country, its unity, and reflect the energy needed to keep the country together,” Raut had said.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Milind Deora said seat sharing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls among alliance partners is more or less finalised in many states with only a few states requiring more time.

Deora, who is closely involved in the organising of the meeting, hailed the “evolving chemistry” between INDIA partners and said the best example of that was in Maharashtra.

Asked whether a forward movement on seat sharing, forming a coordination committee and appointing a convener for the alliance could take place at the Mumbai meeting, he said these are subjects that may be discussed at the meeting next week.

“However, in many states, seat sharing and even seat distribution is more or less finalised. There are only a few states that may require more time,” Deora said.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising the Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress has formed several committees to plan various aspects of the meeting of the opposition bloc.

According to sources, the committees, which include two leaders from each of the three parties, will take care of media, social media, accommodation, and transport, among other things.

The Congress will handle media and publicity, while the NCP will take care of transport.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) will look after accommodation, the sources said, adding that more than 200 rooms have been booked in Grand Hyatt hotel.

The management is being supervised by Congress leaders Deora, Naseem Khan and Varsha Gaikwad, while former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan will be overall in charge of the organising committee, they said.

This is the first meeting of the opposition INDIA alliance in a state where none of the bloc members are in power.

At the conclave held in the Karnataka capital last month, Congress president Kharge had said the opposition will fight the 2024 elections unitedly and succeed. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said their fight was against BJP’s ideology. PTI

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