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I.N.D.I.A meet ends with more questions than answers

Updated on: 02 September,2023 07:26 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

While quick and effective action is the need of the hour, opposition meeting ends with the appointment of yet another 13-member committee to steer anti-BJP strategy

I.N.D.I.A meet ends with more questions than answers

Representational Image

Key Highlights

  1. It made several committees comprising senior leaders of the 28 parties
  2. An important decision taken was to not have a convenor
  3. Some delegates said there were no skirmishes in the meeting

The I.N.D.I.A bloc, in its third meeting held here over two days, decided to waste no time to tackle the BJP that has been mounting pressure on it through tactical play. It made several committees comprising senior leaders of the 28 parties that make up the bloc, to take their ‘defeat Modi’ agenda ahead with renewed vigour through the country. The bloc will come out with its vision document on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Raj Ghat in New Delhi. An important decision taken was to not have a convenor but form a committee of 14 senior leaders to steer the alliance.

Some delegates said there were no skirmishes in the meeting on Friday, and resolutions were passed to fight the Lok Sabha polls together and share seats for the mega show at the state-level, keeping in mind that some of them would have to sacrifice if the front were to win the strength to dethrone Modi. The Mumbai meeting’s chief host, Uddhav Thackeray, confirmed the Gandhi Jayanti programme and the joint rallies to be held in Maharashtra and across the country.

Committee to lead

The most contentious issue of appointing a convenor for the front was avoided. Instead they formed a committee of 14 senior leaders to steer the alliance. It has been named the Coordination and Election Strategy Committee. The octogenarian leader from Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar, who is fighting a split in his Nationalist Congress Party, has been made a member of it, along with — KC Venugopal (Congress), TR Baalu (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Abhishek Banerjee (TMC), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena-UBT) Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI), Lallan Singh (JDU), Raghav Chadda (AAP), Javed Ali Khan (SP), Omar Abdullah (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP). CPM is expected to suggest its representative later.

General Secretary of All India Forward Bloc, D Devarajan, told mid-day that it was decided that all committees would work in a collective manner, sans designated chiefs. “In fact, there was no discussion on appointing a convenor. The meeting went very well, there was no difference of opinion, just one expression that we should not waste more time to finalise things that are required at this stage to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” he said. Thackeray endorsed Devarajan’s view later in the day while talking to media persons.

Resolutions were passed to fight the Lok Sabha polls together on Friday in the meeting. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Resolutions were passed to fight the Lok Sabha polls together on Friday in the meeting. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

As expected, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee led the suggestion that the I.N.D.I.A front needed to be active than ever before, considering the BJP’s tactical approach. “Let’s not talk much. It’s time we acted fast and effectively,” she was reported saying. A delegate confirmed this and informed that it was Banerjee who also suggested Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary to unveil the I.N.D.I.A bloc’s national agenda, vision and approach for the consumption of the people. Accordingly, it was decided to gather in New Delhi at a spectacular programme to blow the final whistle for the decisive battle, he added.

The need for unity

Speaking at a media conference after the meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, put the need of unity in proper perspective. He said the parties that had gathered in Mumbai represented 60 per cent population of the country.

“Today, two very big steps were taken. If parties on this stage unite, it is impossible for BJP to win elections. The task in front of us is to come together in the most efficient way. Forming a coordination committee and the decision to expedite seat-sharing discussions are two steps necessary to ensure that the I.N.D.I.A alliance defeats the BJP....The nexus between the PM and one businessman is for every person to see...I am confident that the I.N.D.I.A alliance will defeat the BJP. The real work in this alliance is the relationships that are forged between leaders of this alliance. The past two meetings have done a huge amount of work to build rapport and to ensure that we all work as one,” Gandhi said.

Banerjee skipped the press conference, but not because of difference of opinion, said master of ceremony, Sanjay Raut. She left early along with a couple of other leaders, because of her scheduled flight, he added. Her heir apparent, Abhishek Banerjee, has been included in the coordination and strategy committee. Mamata was among six CMs of the Opposition-held states present in the conclave.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, his predecessor Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, Rahul Gandhi and Pawar told the media why their unity was crucial to bring about BJP’s defeat.

In his inimitable style Yadav poked fun at Modi. He even asked ISRO scientists to see if they could send the PM to the Sun in their upcoming space mission. And then, recalling his heart and kidney surgeries, he said he was still alive because his resolve was strong, and vowed to not breathe his last before removing Modi. He assured that his party was ready to sacrifice seats to help I.N.D.I.A win. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal termed the Modi government as the most corrupt and egoistic in independent India. “Our alliance will cause Modi’s downfall. Many big powers will be applied to break us, but we will not give in. Nobody is here for a position...” he said.

DMK President and Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin said, “Our first objective is to dislodge the BJP regime and install a government of secular, democratic forces at the Centre. In order to isolate BJP, as far as possible, parties opposed to BJP must be inducted into the alliance. I urge all the leaders to work with this in mind.”  When the only goal is protecting Indian democracy, “there is no doubt that the BJP will be defeated.” He said the alliance is marching on the path of victory. The name INDIA itself is causing “fear and fever” to the Saffron party, he claimed.

Resolutions passed by the alliance

>> I.N.D.I.A (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) parties will jointly contest the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha
>> Seat-sharing arrangements in different states will be initiated immediately and concluded at the earliest in a collaborative spirit of give and take
>> Public rallies will be held across the country at the earliest in different parts of the country on issues of public concern and importance.
>> The mass communication and campaign will be based on the theme, 
“Judega Bharat, Jiteega India,” in different languages

Coordination Committee and Election Strategy Committee

KC Venugopal, INC 
Sharad Pawar, NCP
TR Baalu, DMK
Hemant Soren, JMM
Sanjay Raut, SS
Tejashwi Yadav, RJD
Abhishek Banerjee, TMC
Raghav Chaddha, AAP
Javed Ali Khan, SP
Lallan Singh, JD(U)
D Raja, CPI
Omar Abdullah, NC
Mehbooba Mufti, PDP
CPI-M to give name later

Working Group for Social Media

Supriya Srinate, INC
Sumit Sharma, RJD
Ashish Yadav, SP
Rajeev Nigam, SP
Raghav Chaddha, AAP
Avindani, JMM
Iltija Mehbooba, PDP
Pranjal , CPM
Dr. Bhalchandran Kango, CPI
Ifra Ja, NC
V Arun Kumar, CPI(ML)
TMC (to give name later)

Working Group for Research

Amitabh Dubey, INC
Prof. Subodh Mehta, RJD
Priyanka Chaturvedi, SS
Vandana Chavan, NCP
KC Tyagi, JD(U)
Sudivya Kumar Sonu, JMM
Jasmine Shah, AAP
Alok Ranjan, SP
Imran Nabi Dar, NC
Ad. Aditya, PDP
TMC (to give name later)

Campaign Committee

Gurdeep Singh Sappal, INC
Sanjay Jha, JD (U)
Anil Desai, SS
Sanjay Yadav, RJD
PC Chako, NCP
Champai Soren, JMM
Kiranmoy Nanda, SP
Sanjay Singh, AAP
Arun Kumar, CPI(M)
Binoy Vishwam, CPI
Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi, NC
Shahid Siddiqui, RLD
NK Premachandran, RSP
G. Devarajan, AIFB
Ravi Rai, CPI(ML)
Thirumavalan, VCK
KM Kadar Moidin, IUML
Jose K. Mani, KC(M)
TMC (to give name later)

Working Group for Media

Jairam Ramesh, INC
Manoj Jha, RJD
Arvind Sawant, SS
Jitendra Ahwad, NCP
Raghav Chaddha, AAP
Rajiv Ranjan, JD(U)
Pranjal, CPM
Ashish Yadav, SP
Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM
Alok Kumar, JMM
Manish Kumar, JD(U)
Rajeev Nigam, SP
Dr. Bhalchandran Kango, CPI
Tanvir Sadiq, NC
Prashant Kannojia
Naren Chatterjee, AIFB
Sucheta De, CPI(ML)
Mohit Bhan, PDP
TMC (to give name later)

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