INDIA bloc leaders to meet at Kharge’s residence to discuss government formation

While Kharge refrained from commenting on reaching out to TDP and JD(U), NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar said there has been no discussion yet.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 05, 2024 | 1:44 PMUpdatedJun 05, 2024 | 7:36 PM

INDIA bloc leaders in Patna. (X)

INDIA bloc leaders will meet at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence on Wednesday, 5 June, evening to decide on the strategy to form the government and whether to reach out to former allies Nitish Kumar and N Chandrababu Naidu.

“The INDIA Janbandhan leaders will be meeting on Wednesday at 6 pm at 10, Rajaji Marg to discuss the election results and strategy thereafter,” Kharge said in a post on X.

The Opposition leaders will deliberate on the Lok Sabha poll results and whether to bring on board the Janata Dal (United) and TDP to cobble up a government.

While Kharge refrained from commenting on whether the alliance will reach out to TDP and JD(U), NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar said there has been no discussion within the INDIA bloc yet on reaching out to them.

Also Read: Chandrababu Naidu reiterates that he would stay with the NDA

Opposition leaders to attend

Opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin, Champai Soren, Uddhav Thackeray, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, and D Raja are likely to attend the meeting, along with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

The TMC will be represented by Abhishek Banerjee, who will be coming from Kolkata.

While the BJP on its own fell short of a majority, it may, as things stand, form the government on the back of its allies.

With support from Naidu’s TDP and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which won 16 and 12 seats in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, respectively, and other alliance partners, the NDA crossed the halfway mark.

The TDP and JDU have already dismissed suggestions of defecting to the Opposition alliance and have clearly stated that they will remain with the NDA.

Sources, however, said the Congress and some other party leaders are already trying to woo them.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier asserted that the Congress would not take any decision on government formation without holding consultations with its alliance partners.

Also Read: Congress largest party with over 40 seats in South, halts BJP push

‘Voters unhappy’

While speaking on the Lok Sabha poll outcome, the 83-year-old Pawar told reporters in New Delhi that besides the resentment against the functioning of the Modi government, the voters were also unhappy about the handling of issues such as rising prices, farmers’ distress and growing unemployment.

Asked about reaching out to the TDP or JD(U) to shore up numbers for the INDIA bloc, Pawar said there was no such discussion within the bloc as yet.

“We have not spoken about this yet,” he said.

He said the alliance leaders were meeting on Wednesday and will take collective decisions.

“I have no personal opinion. Whatever we decide, will be a collective decision,” Pawar said.

The former Union minister is expected to play a crucial role in deciding the future course of action of the Opposition alliance.

His party NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) contested 10 out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and won eight.

‘Looking forward’

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Wednesday said he is looking forward to the meeting with a positive mindset.

The Diamond Harbour MP said TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee got the invite from INDIA bloc leaders to attend the meeting.

“Let us meet first. Once I come to know I will certainly share with you (media) the details. I am looking forward to the meeting with a positive mindset,” he told reporters here.

“The verdict of people proved the NDA is on shaky turf” while the INDIA partners are united, he observed.

Abhishek Banerjee said that till a month ago, BJP leaders were flying to West Bengal and asking the people to give the party 30 Lok Sabha seats and it would make the the TMC government fall.

“Now see the irony. I would rather ask BJP leaders to make more such predictions. They had asserted that BJP would get 30 seats and we got this (29),” he said.

In the 2021 Assembly polls, the same BJP leaders had predicted they would get 200 seats and the TMC won 215 seats, he said.

“This shows they don’t have the connection with the people of Bengal,” Banerjee said.

Also Read: Narendra Modi tenders resignation as Prime Minister to President Murmu

What happened to their slogan?’

On the proposed swearing-in of PM Narendra Modi on 8 June, he said “First you should ask BJP what happened to their slogan “Ab ki baar 400 Paar”.

The TMC leader claimed that the saffron party leaders peddled a narrative that they brought Lord Ram inside the Ayodhya temple, “but people realised that they were taking Lord Ram’s name to get votes”.

“No wonder Ayodhya defeated BJP,” he added.

He also alleged that the BJP sought to create an atmosphere of fear by using central agencies, which was spurned by the electorate when they got the chance to vote against it.

“It (the poll results) is a culmination of everything. What has the government done? You have seen the BJP’s rallies for the last three months. They could not produce their report cards of the development work. That is why the BJP resorted to divisive and communal politics. So I salute everyone who uprooted this communal forces,” he added.

Banerjee said people of the country voted against the price hike during the Modi regime and its “scant disregard” to address the real issues faced by the citizens.

(With PTI inputs)