The leaders of the opposition alliance will embark on serious business on Friday
Mumbai: After holding informal talks on Thursday, the leaders of the opposition I.N.D.I.A. alliance will embark on serious business on Friday, the concluding day of its two-day conference in Mumbai, with several tasks being on their agenda.
Apart from unveiling the logo of the alliance, the leaders will hold parlays on the structuring of the coalition. It includes the formation of a coordination committee, secretariat/election management, research wing, spokespersons, media and social media teams and committee for national agenda. They will also discuss the common campaign issues and joint action schedule during the course of the day.
Sources said that the I.N.D.I.A. convener is not likely to be announced. The alliance also will not project any one leader for the Prime Minister’s post before the Lok Sabha elections.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, after arriving in Mumbai for the conference, said that the decision about the Prime Minister can be taken after the elections. "I don't think there is a need to announce the face for PM post right now. Let the polls be held and majority be achieved. Then it can be decided," he said.
The Shiv Sena (UBT), which is hosting the meeting, said the opposition bloc is ready to ensure the victory of INDIA, saying that the BJP-led government at the Centre "has bent its knee before China.”
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Sanjay Raut said that even China will step back from the border after seeing the way with which INDIA alliance has been moving forward. “As the opposition’s INDIA alliance advances, seeing our power, China will start stepping back from borders,” Raut said.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tajashwi Yadav, who is Bihar deputy chief minister, arrived in Mumbai for the conference. The Yadav father-son duo went to famous Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesh.
The BJP ridiculed the opposition meeting calling it a “childishness of cowards." BJP leader Ashish Shelar said that the leaders of the INDIA alliance are cowards because they cannot face the BJP on their own.
Referring to Uddhav Thackeray’s comment that the INDIA has several options for the PM’s post while the BJP has only one, Mr. Shelar said which is why the meeting is nothing but childishness.
“Uddhav’s yesterday’s statement was childish and immature. Does he mean that the opposition parties going to appoint a separate PM for each region in order to protect their feudal estates? He has surrendered to people who hated Balasaheb Thackeray his whole life. SS(UBT) workers are going to serve dinner to those who have insulted V.D. Savarkar time and again,” Shelar said.
Lok Sabha MP Gananan Kirtikar from the Eknath Shinde camp said that Uddhav Thackeray has become subservient to the Congress and is rolling out carpet for those who have taken an anti-Hindutva stand.
The conference has also witnessed poster war between the two factions of the Shiv Sena, with the Uddhav Thackeray-led group putting up saffron flags along with the pictures of Uddhav outside the Mumbai airport to suggest that it has not left Hindutva. However, another banner was put up by Uddhav’s adversaries with an old statement from Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray on the Western Express Highway in Santacruz, Mumbai. The banner quoted a statement by the Sena founder in Marathi saying, “I will not let Shiv Sena become the Congress."
However, the INDIA alliance's attempts to bring all opposition parties together received a setback, as Punjab's Shiromani Akali Dal has decided not to join either the INDIA or NDA. Taking a jibe at the INDIA, senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said, “It seems that all parties are coming together to save one family.”
Former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, who was at the forefront of the Opposition unity ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2019, has criticised the INDIA alliance as useless and indicated that he is ready to join the NDA. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi refused to comment on the INDIA alliance meet in Mumbai. “I have nothing to do with it,” he said.