INDIA Mumbai Meeting: All Eyes On Day 2 Discussions, Logo Unveiling And Seat Sharing Decisions Expected

Crucial decisions on a coordination committee, which could be of 11 members from principal opposition parties, and a logo for the bloc are expected to be announced at the end of the opposition meeting in Mumbai

INDIA bloc leaders meet in Mumbai

The two-day Opposition-led INDIA alliance meeting in Mumbai commenced today with top leaders of the parties participating in talks in an informal setting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in suburban Santacruz. The leaders began crucial discussions to chart out a concrete roadmap and evolve a structure for cooperation to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, who hosted the leaders to dinner said that more details on the meeting will be revealed in a press conference on Friday. "The meeting was good. You will know the details tomorrow," he told reporters.

Among key announcements awaited at the Mumbai meeting include the 11-member coordination committee who would be from principal opposition parties and a logo for the bloc. Discussions are also expected on whether the bloc will have a convenor and whether there will be some sub-groups to handle seat sharing, agitational joint programmes, communication strategy and chalk out a common minimum programme.

Some reports say that the seat-sharing discussions and finalisation may be taken by September 30 amid apprehension among some leaders about early polls. The alliance has already seen minor rifts within the members over the issue. However, the bloc leaders have voiced unity even with differences to fight for democracy.

The run-up to the meeting, on the other hand, witnessed the Adani issue take centre stage once again as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held a press conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel where the INDIA leaders had gathered.         

Rahul Gandhi Questions Vinod Adani's Role After OCCRP Report

During a press conference, Rahul Gandhi brought up the Adani group in relation to the OCCRP report and raised inquiries about the role of Vinod Adani, the brother of Gautam Adani.

The OCCRP report, released earlier on August 31, presents documents obtained exclusively by the organization, revealing instances where individuals with purported public investment ties actually have well-known connections to the Adani family, the majority shareholders of the group. These individuals are alleged to have participated in manipulating stock prices of Adani companies.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, directed his criticism towards the Adani group, stating, "Significant questions have emerged. First and foremost, the source of these funds needs to be clarified—do they belong to Adani or some other entity? Additionally, there are two foreign nationals in association with Vinod Adani, Gautam Adani's brother, and this demands examination."

He further posed a second question, asking, "Why have these two foreign nationals been permitted to influence India's critical infrastructure?"

As many as 63 representatives from 28 political parties are expected to attend the meeting, including two regional outfits - the Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP), a Marxist political party in Maharashtra, and another regional outfit. All eyes are on whether the bloc will announce a convenor or a Prime Ministerial candidate.

Dodging Questions On PM Candidate

Several opposition leaders have been ducking the question of who will be the INDIA alliance PM candidate. A day ahead of the meeting, Mamata Banerjee said, "India will be our PM face. Our primary concern is to save the country," she said. Former chief minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray said, "We have a lot of choices, the question is what choice the BJP has," in response to a query on the PM face.

His son and party leader Aaditya Thackeray today reiterated that the INDIA alliance has many choices for the PM face and slammed the BJP for repeatedly targeting them.  “BJP is scared of INDIA,” he said, adding that BJP's hostility is directed not just towards the alliance but also towards the country and its constitution.

According to media reports, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge is the front-runner for the post of the convenor. 

More parties to join INDIA

AICC spokesperson Pawan Khera on Wednesday said the number of parties under the INDIA bloc is increasing and so is their morale. 26 parties attended the meeting in Bengaluru and 28 parties are expected to attend the Mumbai meet beginning today. 

Queried on the possibility of Akali Dal and BSP chief Mayawati joining the opposition camp, Khera said the number of the constituent parties (under the INDIA bloc) has risen from 26 to 28 and in the coming days, more names will come.  "Many others who are now with NDA will join the INDIA alliance," he claimed.