Opposition parties, BJP, 2024 Lok Sabha polls
If the Patna meet broke the ice between Opposition parties, the Bengaluru meet is expected to throw up tricky, uncomfortable questions. File photo

10 things to watch out for at Opposition meet in Bengaluru today

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The Opposition parties are all set to converge in Bengaluru on July 17-18 for a key meeting to evolve a strategy for defeating the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

This will be the second meeting of the Opposition parties in as many months. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav had hosted the first meeting in Patna last month. The deliberations are expected to set the stage for the formation of a third front – a bloc of parties united against the BJP.

Also read: Sonia’s presence at Bengaluru meet could be the magic mantra for Opposition unity

The Opposition parties may come out with a roadmap to counter the BJP at the key meet. The crucial meeting may also witness discussion on a common minimum programme to set their national agenda for the 2024 general elections. The Federal presents 10 facts about the key Opposition meeting that will draw the battle lines for the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

  1. All eyes would be on how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gets along with the other Opposition parties after receiving Congress support on the Delhi ordinance. Reluctant to attend Bengaluru meet over the issue initially, the AAP decided to join other Opposition parties at the conclave following a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in New Delhi on Sunday. The PAC meeting was held after the Congress made it clear that it will oppose any such move by the Centre to intervene in states ruled by Opposition parties through the governors. AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann will attend the meeting.
  2. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee are participating in the meeting. Mamata had also attended the last meeting in Patna. Her presence holds significance due to the fact that the TMC doesn’t get along well with the Congress over various issues in the Parliament. Apart from AAP, TMC is the only other party that often makes an effort to not align with the Congress.
  3. Eight new parties have extended support to the Opposition parties’ bid to put up a united front against the BJP in 2024. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi (KDMK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), All India Forward Bloc, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Kerala Congress (Joseph), and Kerala Congress (Mani) are among the new political parties that will be joining the meeting. Notably, KDMK and MDMK were previously allies of the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
  4. Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi will also attend the Opposition parties meeting. She had not attended the last meeting in Patna. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former president Rahul Gandhi had represented the party last time. Sonia is expected to play a significant role in forging the Opposition unity.
  5. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray along with his son Aaditya Thackeray and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut will attend the meeting in Bengaluru. Uddhav’s presence in the meeting holds great significance in the aftermath of the recent dramatic political developments in Maharashtra. Uddhav’s Sena is a key constituent of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) which also comprises Congress and NCP.
  6. The Opposition parties are expected to come out with some substantial announcement that can capture the imagination of the electorate. The meeting may also spell out how the Congress – the largest national party in the Opposition – sees its own role in consolidating the anti-BJP alliance.
  7. The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), led by Jayant Chaudhary, a key player in Uttar Pradesh politics, will be attending the meeting in Bengaluru. By announcing this, Jayant has also laid to rest all the speculations that he may be joining the NDA despite the ruling BJP extending an olive branch to him. He could not attend the last meeting in Patna due to some personal reasons.
  8. The Bengaluru meet may witness the formation of three working groups which will draft a common agenda for Opposition parties with the polls in mind. The meet is also likely to decide upon a common name for the Opposition alliance. The parties are also likely to discuss tricky seat sharing arrangements among themselves.
  9. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be the man to watch out for in the Opposition’s unity bid as he is the one who played a major role in bringing his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav onboard the Opposition front. Both the TMC as well as the SP were not too keen to join a common platform with the Congress playing a central role in it.
  10. Another prominent figure in the Opposition conclave will be Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge who has displayed an extraordinary political acumen in not only initiating unity efforts in the grand old party but also bringing along the Opposition parties. He is leaving no stone unturned to unite all the Opposition parties, which is evident by the fact that he extended invitation for Bengaluru meet to even several smaller parties.

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