The first conclave of Opposition parties held in Patna June 23 witnessed 17 national and regional parties unanimously coming together to resolve to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections together under one umbrella to take on the BJP. File photo

Nitish, Tejashwi meet Kharge, Rahul; call it 'historic meeting'

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi on Wednesday (April 12). Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting.

The meeting at Kharge’s residence came amid talks of Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Also read: At Kharge’s dinner meet, 18 parties come together to take Modi govt head-on

The meeting at Kharge’s residence comes amid talks of like-minded Opposition parties coming together on a common platform to defeat the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Kharge said this was a historic meeting and it was decided to unite all parties to fight upcoming polls together.

Rahul Gandhi said this is a process to unite the parties and the Opposition’s vision will be developed together.

“We will take along all the parties together in this ideological battle. We will unitedly fight the attack on institutions and the country and will take an important step in this regard,” Rahul said.

Nitish Kumar said they would try and unite more and more Opposition parties. “We will together carry on efforts in this regard,” he said.

No decision on leadership role

Sources said no discussion at the moment on who will lead this initiative or if a convenor would be appointed from one of the non-Congress parties to coordinate the efforts.

“Today’s was a preliminary discussion. After the Grand Alliance returned to power last year, the Bihar CM and deputy CM had met then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the issue of Opposition unity was discussed then too, but the Congress was at the time in the process of electing its new president. Sonia had agreed with the need to unite the Opposition against the BJP but had asked the two leaders to discuss this with the new Congress chief. For whatever reasons, the meeting could not happen so today was the first time that Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi jointly met Mallikarjun Kharge. There is a sense that while the Congress has to be the fulcrum of any plan to unite the Opposition, the convenor for such an effort should be a non-Congress leader. Some have suggested Nitish Kumar could be the right choice for such a role as he has the political stature and experience needed for the task and also enjoys good relationship with chiefs of all Opposition parties, including Trinamool and Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi. As of now, the priority is to initiate talks and at least reach a common ground with maximum Opposition parties on which more concrete discussions like seat-sharing, common program, etc, can take place as we move forward. So it is too premature to say what role should be assigned to the Congress or who should be the convenor; these were not discussed today. Each of the parties will talk to leaders of other Opposition parties, test waters and then move forward. This is what we agreed on today, more of these meetings will take place in the coming days,” a senior non-Congress leader present at the meeting told The Federal.

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