Mumbai: The I.N.D.I.A. bloc Friday resolved to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together “as far as possible”, asserting that seat-sharing arrangements in states will be concluded at the earliest in a spirit of “give-and-take”.
Amid speculation of early polls and the formation of a panel to explore the possibility of ‘one nation, one election’, Opposition bloc leaders took crucial decisions, including setting up of a 14-member coordination committee that will act as the top decision-making body of the alliance and start work on seat sharing.
In a resolution passed at the meeting here, the I.N.D.I.A. bloc said it resolves to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections together “as far as possible”. Seat-sharing arrangements in different states will be initiated immediately and concluded at the earliest in a collaborative spirit of give-and-take, it said.
“We, the INDIA parties, hereby resolve to organize public rallies at the earliest in different parts of the country on issues of public concern and importance,” the resolution said.
The INDIA parties also resolved to coordinate their respective communications and media strategies and campaigns with the theme ‘Judega Bharat, Jeetega India’ in different languages.
Seat-sharing will be finalised by September 30, the sources said.
In the backdrop of the government forming the panel to explore the possibility of “one nation, one election”, Kharge, in a post on X, said no matter how many “diversions and distractions” the ruling regime throws at the people, they shall not be betrayed anymore. He asserted the countdown of this “autocratic government’s exit has begun”.
The government has constituted a committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of “one nation, one election”, opening the possibility of Lok Sabha polls being advanced so that they could be held with a string of state assembly contests.
Addressing the opposition meeting here, Kharge said the strength of the opposition alliance is making the government “nervous” and I.N.D.I.A. bloc partners should be prepared for “vendetta politics” as there will be more “misuse” of agencies against them.
Kharge launched a frontal attack on the government alleging the “communal poison” that the BJP and RSS have allegedly spread over the last nine years is now manifested in hate crimes against innocent train passengers and schoolchildren.
His apparent reference was to the incidents of a railway police constable fatally shooting people on board a train last month, and a teacher at a Muzaffarnagar school asking students to slap their Muslim classmate for not completing his homework.
In his opening remarks, Kharge said the success of both the previous meetings — in Patna and Bengaluru — can be measured by the fact that the prime minister in his subsequent speeches has not just attacked I.N.D.I.A. but has also “compared the name of our beloved country with a terrorist organisation and a symbol of slavery”.
“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 government will misuse agencies against our leaders,” he said.
Kharge, former Congress chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, among others, are participating in the discussions.
National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, CPI (ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, Independent Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal and RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary, are also among those present at the talks.
Before the meeting, all the INDIA bloc leaders posed for a group photograph. Opposition alliance leaders also passed a resolution hailing ISRO’s successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 mission, and asserted that it took six decades to build, expand and deepen the space agency’s capacities and capabilities.