A meeting of the Opposition parties to put up a united front ahead of the 2024 general elections is most likely to take place on June 12, according to Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
It is almost certain that the meeting would take place in Patna on June 12, said Chaudhary, a state minister and key aide of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He described it as an "extremely important meeting".
He said, "It is now almost final that a meeting of most parties opposed to BJP will be held in Patna on June 12. Most opposition parties share the belief that the BJP will not win the 2024 Lok Sabha elections if those opposed to it put up a united fight. It is true that the initiative has been taken by our leader Nitish Kumar but we do not wish to claim any credit. Opposition unity is becoming a reality only because we are getting support from like-minded parties."
The idea of the all-party meeting came out of a meeting between Nitish and West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee last month.
"I have made just one request to Nitish Kumar. Jayaprakash ji's movement started from Bihar. If we have an all-party meeting in Bihar, we can then decide where we have to go next," said Mamata after emerging from the meeting at her state secretariat Nabanna at the time.
The meeting with Mamata was part of Nitish's attempts to bring all parties together to put up a united front against the Narendra Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 general elections.
The same day, Nitish had also met Samajwadi Party (SP) cheif Akhilesh Yadav. Nitish's meetings with Mamata and Akhilesh came within 12 days of him holding talks with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi. These meetings indicate that both the regional satraps are now willing to give up their apathy towards Congress and agree to a rainbow coalition ahead of the 2024 elections.
Analysts believe Nitish has started gearing up as a catalyst for unity after his Delhi meeting as he believes that without Congress as the centre-piece an opposition front may not work. The Congress too has in recent months said the Grand Old Party would be the "fulcrum" of any Opposition alliance.
(With PTI inputs)