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At INDIA Alliance Mumbai Meet, Congress Chief Says Strength Of Opposition Bloc Making Government 'Nervous'

During an informal dinner gathering the previous night, the leaders emphasized the urgency of finalizing seat-sharing arrangements and crafting a unified agenda within a few weeks.

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INDIA bloc leaders meet in Mumbai
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Leaders from the Opposition bloc in India are slated to shape their strategies for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections on Friday. As they gear up to challenge the NDA, expectations of a potential early election loom large. 

Converging from different parts of the country, these leaders are poised to engage in discussions that center around forming a coordinated effort. Topics on the agenda include the establishment of a coordination committee and the formation of sub-groups that will focus on aspects such as shared agendas, media tactics, joint initiatives, and programs.

Addressing the opposition meeting, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge launched a frontal attack on the government saying the communal poison that the BJP and RSS have allegedly spread over the last nine years is now seen in hate crimes against innocent train passengers and against school children, in an apparent reference to the Jaipur-Mumbai Express train shooting incident. 

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"We should be prepared for more attacks in the coming months, more raids and arrests due to this government's vendetta politics. The more ground our alliance gains the more the BJP Govt will misuse agencies against our leaders. It has done the same in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bengal. In fact Last week, it was done in Jharkhand and in Chattisgarh...," Kharge said.

During an informal dinner gathering the previous night, the leaders emphasized the urgency of finalizing seat-sharing arrangements and crafting a unified agenda within a few weeks. The current formal discussions mark the second round of such talks, following which a joint statement will be issued alongside the announcement of the coordination panel and associated sub-panels, giving structure to their electoral plans, PTI reported.

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Mallikarjun Kharge, the president of the Congress party, has requested leaders of various parties to nominate representatives for the coordination committee. Additionally, the Opposition bloc, known as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), plans to unveil its logo on the same day.

Sources reveal a consensus on the need for a team of spokespersons to voice the alliance's stance. Other topics slated for discussion include the selection of a convenor for the bloc.

The focal point of discussions during the formal meeting today, commencing at 11 am, will be the agenda itself. Following this, a joint press conference is scheduled to take place. Decisions include the establishment of a coordination committee and a minimum of four sub-groups, addressing tasks such as formulating a shared agenda, devising action plans and managing social media strategies, as well as conducting research and data analysis to counter the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Parallelly, sub-committees will be formed to organize joint campaigns and rallies. Noteworthy leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, have expressed the timeline for the alliance's manifesto, aiming for completion by October 2. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, is keen on finalizing seat-sharing arrangements among parties for the Lok Sabha polls by the end of the following month.

Ram Gopal Yadav from the Samajwadi Party emphasizes the urgency of deciding on seat-sharing early on, given the limited time available for the opposition alliance. Mallikarjun Kharge has also urged leaders to compile a common national agenda in bullet points.

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Discussions also touched on the upcoming special session of Parliament, with Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, stressing the need to be prepared for any surprise tactics from the NDA. The special session, scheduled for September 18 to 22, sparked curiosity due to its timing coinciding with Ganesh Chaturthi.

Uddhav Thackeray, President of the Shiv Sena (UBT), emphasized the importance of commencing work promptly and not delaying plans further. As the elections draw closer, most leaders concur on the significance of swift planning and action to engage with the electorate. Amidst these deliberations, the topic of electronic voting machines was also raised.

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Prominent figures in attendance include Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Lalu Prasad, MK Stalin, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Dipankar Bhattacharya, Tejashwi Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, and Jayant Chaudhary, among others. Their discussions aim to form a cohesive strategy to navigate the upcoming elections in a timely and impactful manner.

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