Opposition Leaders to Hold Meeting in Patna to Strategize for 2024 Lok Sabha Elections
Patna, Bihar, June 23: Opposition leaders from various political parties across the country are scheduled to gather in Patna to devise a comprehensive strategy to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Patna has been chosen as the venue for this meeting to symbolize the historic 1974 call for a total revolution by Jayaprakash Narayan, which resulted in the ousting of the majority government led by Indira Gandhi.
The meeting, facilitated by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, aims to foster consensus among the opposition parties to form a united front against the BJP.
While several opposition leaders have arrived in Patna, Jayant Chaudhary, the president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), will not be attending due to a previously scheduled family commitment. Nonetheless, Chaudhary expressed optimism that the meeting would mark a significant milestone in promoting opposition unity.
In a notable development, the Janata Dal (United), which is hosting the meeting, has not extended an invitation to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
Leaders from various parties who have already arrived in Patna include Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal; Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi; Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister of Punjab; MK Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu; and Mehbooba Mufti, leader of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Rahul Gandhi, along with Mallikarjun Kharge, the president of the Congress party, is expected to join the meeting on Friday.
During her visit to Patna, Mamata Banerjee paid a visit to Lalu Yadav, the patriarch of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and his son, Tejashwi Yadav, who serves as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. She described the meeting as a wonderful interaction, emphasizing the collective fight of the opposition.
Additionally, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, and Bhagwant Mann met with Nitish Kumar at the Patna Circuit House.
In response to the meeting, Mayawati, the chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party, made sarcastic remarks, saying, "Whether hearts meet or not, keep shaking hands."
She further criticized the opposition parties by using the Hindi proverb "Muh me Ram, bagal me chhuri" (speaking sweetly but having malicious intent) and expressed disappointment that the opposition did not clarify their intentions before the meeting. Mayawati emphasized the significance of Uttar Pradesh, which holds 80 Lok Sabha seats, as a key determinant of electoral success and questioned the seriousness of the opposition parties towards achieving their objectives.
Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi took a dig at the opposition's mega meeting, suggesting that the gathering of opposition leaders, who have been accused of corruption, is driven by the fear of potential arrest if Prime Minister Narendra Modi secures a third term in office after the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Sushil Modi also highlighted the fact that the RJD, despite not having any seats in the Lok Sabha, is challenging the BJP, which currently holds 303 seats. He predicted that Bihar would give all 40 Lok Sabha seats to Prime Minister Modi's party.
In a letter addressed to the opposition leaders, Arvind Kejriwal urged them to discuss the central government's ordinance regarding the control of services in Delhi during the meeting on June 23. However, it is unlikely that state-specific issues will be addressed in the initial gathering.