I.N.D.I.A. bloc meet in Delhi, condemn suspension of MPs

New Delhi: A crucial meeting of the opposition INDIA bloc began in the national capital on Tuesday where top leaders were discussing the way forward, including seat-sharing, for taking on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The issue of the suspension of 141 opposition MPs in both Houses of Parliament came up at the meeting with leaders cutting across party lines condemning the action against the members.

“The leaders asserted that they will continue to fight against the tyranny of this government,” a source said.

Harping on putting up a united front, the Congress alleged that democracy is being “mercilessly murdered” and MPs who raise people’s issues are suspended from the House.

“In such an adverse situation, our unity is our strength,” the party posted on X after the meeting began.

The opposition leaders are deliberating on a blueprint for a joint campaign, seat-sharing arrangement and redrawing their strategy after the Congress suffered a setback in the recent assembly polls, where BJP won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Evolving a “core positive agenda” will also be among the main challenges before the INDIA bloc.

Sharing a video on X, the Congress said senior leaders including Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, CPP Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting of INDIA alliance in Delhi.

“Today democracy is being mercilessly murdered by the Modi government. Representatives who raise public voice are suspended from the House. In such an adverse situation, our unity is our strength and this resolve to protect democracy is our energy,” the party said in a post on X.

As many as 141 opposition MPs have been suspended from both Houses of Parliament since last Thursday for disrupting proceedings.

“We will give a befitting reply to the dictatorship of Modi government. Will not be afraid, will not stop, will fight and win. Jai Hind,” the Congress posted.

This is the fourth meeting of the INDIA bloc leaders, with the first one held in Patna, followed by meetings in Bengaluru and Mumbai.

Sources said there is a likelihood that seat-sharing talks may begin immediately and would end by this month itself, amid demands by some leaders to finish them soonest The leaders would also brainstorm on evolving their joint campaign strategy and presenting a positive agenda to emerge as an alternative to the BJP.

According to a senior Congress leader, the constituents of the opposition alliance intend to move forward with the theme “Main Nahin, Hum (We, Not Me)” at the meeting.

The meeting began at the Ashoka Hotel here with Kharge, Gandhis, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in attendance besides NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

Among the leaders present at the meeting are former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, DMK’s T R Baalu, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, CPI’s D Raja, NC’s Farooq Abdullah, E T Mohammed Basheer, E K Elangovan, RSP’s N K Premchandran, Kerala Congress (M)’s Jose K Mani, NCP’s and Supriya Sule and JMM’s Mahua Maji, among others.