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INDIA Vs NDA In 2024: Anti-BJP Coalition Reveals New Name At Bengaluru Opposition Meet

The battle for 2024 Lok Sabha Elections intensified with 26 like-minded opposition parties converging for the second meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday to strategise for the polls. The parties revealed the name of their new bloc: Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

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Opposition meeting in Bengaluru
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Taking the next step towards forging unity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, opposition parties held a meeting to come up with a common structure and agenda for the anti-BJP alliance, along with figuring out a formula for seat-sharing during the second day of talks which are currently underway in Bengaluru. Addressing a press conference, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced that the alliance has been named 'INDIA' (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance). 

Leaders of 26 opposition parties arrived in Bengaluru for the second day of the meeting to chalk out a joint programme aimed at defeating the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. At the meeting, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge acknowledged that there are differences amongst the parties at the regional level. "These differences are not ideological. These differences are not so big that we cannot put them behind us for the sake of the common man and middle class, for youth, for the poor, the Dalit, the adivasis and the minorities whose rights are being crushed silently behind the scenes," he said.  

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Kharge further said that the Congress is not interested in power or the post of Prime Minister. "Our intention in this meeting is not to gain power for ourselves. It is to protect our Constitution, Democracy, Secularism and Social Justice," he said.

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Opposition leaders reiterated that uniting their parties was necessary to save the country and democracy. "The meeting is important to save the country and its people. Two-third of India's population is against the BJP. We are all united to remove the BJP," Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said. 

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti claimed that the Constitution of India was being 'disobeyed'. "The way our Constitution and democracy are being disobeyed, all the opposition parties need to come together to save the idea of India," she said. 

Reiterating similar views, Delhi CM and AAP convenor slammed PM Modi for making "a complete mess" of almost every sector in the country. "He has created hatred amongst the people, the economy is in shambles, there is so much inflation, so much unemployment in all sectors. Now I think, it is time that the people of this country want to get rid of him, so everyone needs to come together," he said.

Agenda for Opposition unity meeting

Opposition parties participating in the meeting are aiming at finalising a committee for the functioning of the grouping. They will also announce two sub-committees – one for finalising the common minimum programme along with communication points and the other for chalking out a joint opposition programme of events, rallies and conventions.

The parties will also discuss the roadmap for deciding seat-sharing formula on a state to state basis and ironing out differences among regional outfits. However, hours before the meeting, the Congress party admitted that seat-sharing might take time, while also reiterating that the effort by opposition parties would be a "game changer" in Indian politics. 

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On seat-sharing and the plan to ensure a one-on-one fight between the Opposition parties and BJP on as many seats as possible, AICC general secretary (Organisation) K V Venugopal said, “These are things we will discuss. It may not happen in one meeting, or in two meetings… it will take time.”

Highlighting one such point of difference, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury ruled out any alliance with the TMC in West Bengal and said that secular parties along with the Left and the Congress will take on the BJP as well as the TMC in the state. Yechury, however, added that the endeavour is to reduce the split in opposition votes and they will chalk out a plan to fight together.

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The parties will also deliberate upon the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The issue of Manipur was discussed during the dinner meeting and the need for sending an all-party delegation to the violence-hit state was stressed upon. 

Parties at the event

In all, 26 parties are attending the mega-event in Bengaluru. One prominent absentee was Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar who promised to attend the meeting on Tuesday along with his daughter Supriya Sule. Congress, TMC, AAP, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), DMK, RJD, Samajwadi Party, National Conference (NC), People Democratic Party (PDP), CPI-M, CPI, and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) were some major parties that arrived in Bengaluru for the meeting.

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Around 15 parties had attended the meeting in Bihar last month hosted by Nitish. This time, there are 26 parties. 

Among the parties which have been added this time are MDMK, KDMK, VCK, RSP, CPI-ML, Forward Bloc, IUML, Kerala Congress (Joseph) and Kerala Congress (Mani), Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) of Krishna Patel, and Tamil Nadu's Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) led by M H Jawahirullah.

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