INDIA Coordination Committee Meeting On 13th To Finalise Campaigns, Rallies: RJD MP Manoj Jha

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha said the results of the recent bypolls in seven assembly seats in six states show that a narrative is getting built in favour of the INDIA bloc.

RJD Leader Manoj Jha at a press conference (Representational Image)

The first meeting of the coordination committee of the opposition bloc INDIA will focus on finalising campaigns and rallies to be held in the coming days, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha said on Monday.

Talking to PTI, Jha said the results of the recent bypolls in seven assembly seats in six states - of which the opposition won four and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) three - show that a narrative is getting built in favour of the INDIA bloc.

"The meeting of the 13th is important, meetings of the different sub-groups have been held, like the social media committee, campaign committee, research committee, all have held their meetings. The deliberations held in these meetings will get a stamp of approval. A final shape will be given to the agenda, what would be the programmes, where the campaigns will be held, it will all be deliberated upon," he said.

The meeting of the 14-member coordination committee of the INDIA bloc, which is the top decision making body of the grouping, will be held at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Wednesday.

Over two dozen opposition parties have formed the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Asked about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoning Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, a member of the coordination committee, to appear before it on the day of the meeting, Jha said the government is using agencies where it is incapable of defeating opponents politically.

"The day we formed the INDIA alliance - 'Judega Bharat, Jitega India' - we knew ED, I-T, CBI will be let loose. Today Abhishek Banerjee has got a summon, tomorrow someone else will get it.... These people have this mindset that if you cannot deal with the opposition politically, arrest them. They forget the bars of the prison are not so strong that it may contain people's outrage," he said, targeting the ruling BJP.

"This shows the prime minister and his team have not been able to get any concrete political vocabulary against the opposition alliance INDIA. They are calling us East India Company, Ghamandiya.... The prime minister and his team look rattled, worried...," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

He said the recent by-polls showed that a narrative is getting built in favour of the INDIA bloc.

"Usually we don't give so much importance to bypoll results, but this time, on one side is a party which has so much resources and power, on the other hand, the opposition parties have a serious lack of resources. The results show that you can't buy everything by using power and money," Jha said.

"A narrative has been built by these results, even the one seat that the Congress lost - Bageshwar - the margin is very small. It is nothing if you look at the previous results in Uttarakhand," he said. 

In the recently held by-polls, results for which were announced on Friday, INDIA bloc parties won four seats - Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, Dumri in Jharkhand, West Bengal's Dhupguri and Kerala's Puthuppally - while the BJP won two seats in Tripura and Bageshwar in Uttarakhand.

In the Bageshwar Assembly seat, BJP candidate Parwati Dass defeated Basant Kumar of the Congress by a margin of 2,321 votes.

Asked if the September 13 meeting will also deliberate on who will be the face of the alliance, Jha said, "The discussions on a 'face' is an attribute of neo-liberal characteristics of the market and its influence on politics. There was no face in 1977, voices were raised against autocracy, J P (Narayan) was the leader but he did not become the prime minister, Morarji Desai became the PM."

"In 2004, the Shining India campaign fell apart... Was there any PM name, but we got Manmohan Singh who led the nation for 10 years, and gave one of the best governments... I often say you are not buying shampoo or soap. On one hand there is a party, where no one can speak against the prime minister, is this a good system? Or the system that the opposition is proposing - a first among equals kind of system is better? We are bringing a progressive alternative for the people," he added.