A celebration rally of Deputy Prime minister Devi Lal’s birth Anniversary by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) turned out to be a place for oppositional unity as Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, his deputy Tejwashi Yadav, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar along with several other prominent opposition leaders joined the tableau.
Stressing that only an opposition alliance including Congress will be able to defeat BJP in the upcoming 2024 general election, the leaders called for broader oppositional unity.
"If all non-BJP parties unite, which must include our friends from Congress, then we can get rid of those working to destroy the country," Nitish Kumar said.
The same sentiment was echoed by other leaders including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.
The leaders attacked the BJP, accusing it of trying to create "Hindu-Muslim disturbances" to benefit politically and making false claims and promises.
Nitish Kumar, who recently snapped his ties with the BJP in Bihar said that the major efforts should not be directed at creating a ‘third front’, rather it must be a ‘main front’ to fight head-on with BJP’s communal politics.
Even INLD president OP Chautala noted that they would speak to Congress to form a United oppositional front. Notably both Chautala and Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal have histories of fighting Congress in their respective turfs.
Reclaiming the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that was formed to counter Congress, Badal said, "real NDA is here on this stage not somewhere else. The founding members SAD, Shiv Sena, and JD(U) are present here. We removed the BJP from the NDA."
Pawar spoke at length on the plight of farmers who protested against the three farm laws and said the government has still not fulfilled their demand for minimum support price (MSP). He also referred to the Government’s unwillingness to take back the cases against the farmers.
"The real solution to problems of farmers and unemployment can only be by bringing a change and everyone must strive for a change of the government at the Centre in 2024. All opposition parties should come together," he said.
RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav alleged that the BJP does not want real issues such as price rise and unemployment to be discussed and instead harps on topics like "Musalmaan, Pakistan, mandir and masjid".
CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury pointed out that this is the high time to change the manager who is ''mismanaging the country and creating chaos''. "We all should come on one platform including the Congress," the CPI (M) leader said.
Though no one from the Congress attended the rally, Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav as scheduled earlier met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence in the national capital after the public meeting. Kumar said that all the opposition parties are standing on the same page and unanimous decision regarding the front would be taken after the Congress party election.
However regional satraps like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav were conspicuous with their absence. Notably, Mamata Banerjee’s government has been currently neck-deep in graft charges over state level teacher recruitment scam.
Hitting back, BJP president J P Nadda, who was in Kerala, said the only thing common to these opposition parties is "dynastic politics and corruption".
"Two things are common to them. First, all of them are family parties and secondly, they are neck-deep in corruption. Some are accused in corruption cases and some others are out on bail," he said. Nadda said the BJP has to take on the challenge from the "corrupt and dynastic parties" to save democracy.
(With PTI Inputs)