Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Nitish, Tejashwi hold ‘historic’ meet with Kharge, Rahul; pledge to take opposition unity forward


New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav held a “historic” meeting with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, and decided to bring together as many opposition parties as possible to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Kharge said the opposition will together protect the Constitution and democracy and unitedly give a new direction to the country.

Rahul Gandhi said the opposition will together develop its vision for the country and present the same before people as they fight the ongoing ideological battle together.

This is the first formal effort in forging an opposition unity ahead of next year’s election. The Congress chief would be meeting top leaders of various Opposition parties in the coming few days.

“We held a historic meeting here. A lot of issues were discussed and we decided that we will unite all parties and fight the upcoming polls in a united manner. We have made this decision and all of us will work for this,” Gandhi told reporters while lauding the efforts of Kumar, Yadav and others sitting along with him.

He said the leaders present at the meeting will work on a common line of thought and asserted that efforts were being made in this regard.

Gandhi termed the meeting a “historic step” to unite the Opposition.

“In this battle of ideology, a historic step has been taken today towards the unity of the opposition. Standing together, will fight together – for India,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi and shared his picture with other leaders.

The JDU tweeted in Hindi, saying, “Nitish ji will prove to be the architect of opposition unity in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.” Asked how many opposition parties will come together, Gandhi said, “This is a process and we will develop the opposition’s vision for the country and all those parties that will come together with us, we will together fight the ongoing ideological fight in the country.” “We will unitedly stand against the attack on institutions, the attack on the country,” he said, adding a very important step has been taken today.

The meeting at Kharge’s residence comes amid talks of like-minded opposition parties coming together on a common platform to defeat the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

In his remarks, the Bihar chief minister said, “We will make all efforts to unite more and more parties in the country. We will make all efforts, sit together, and work unitedly, this has been decided.” “After today’s discussions we will move forward on that basis. All those who agree will sit together and decide the future course of action,” he said.

In a tweet in Hindi, Kharge said, “Will preserve the Constitution and save democracy. Rahul Gandhi ji and we met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ji, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav ji and other leaders, reiterated our resolve to raise the voice of the people together and give a new direction to the country.” The leaders also had a lunch at Kharge’s residence, where JDU president Lalan Singh, Bihar Congress chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Congress leader Salman Khurshid and RJD leader Manoj Jha were also present.

“The purpose of the meeting was to unite all parties. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has been given the special task to reach out to (Opposition) party leaders. The Congress is also talking to some parties,” Bihar Congress chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh said after the meeting.

The Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress are in a coalition government in Bihar and the three parties are in talks to bring other opposition parties together on a common platform in their fight against the BJP.

Kumar arrived here on Tuesday and is expected to meet a slew of opposition leaders during his stay in the national capital.

Tejashwi Yadav is also in Delhi as he appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the alleged land-for-jobs scam.

Kharge has spoken to several opposition leaders including M K Stalin and Uddhav Thackeray recently, to forging unity among like-minded parties to take on the BJP. He is likely to hold discussions with other top opposition leaders in the coming days.



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