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  India   Politics  31 Aug 2023  Chaos in I.N.D.I.A. bloc over PM face

Chaos in I.N.D.I.A. bloc over PM face

THE ASIAN AGE. | ASHHAR KHAN
Published : Aug 31, 2023, 12:40 am IST
Updated : Aug 31, 2023, 12:40 am IST

Several leaders of various parties have said that their leader was the best suited to be the PM candidate of the alliance

Congress Maharashtra President Nana Patole, Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. (PTI)
 Congress Maharashtra President Nana Patole, Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: Confusion prevailed in the Opposition camp ahead of the two-day meeting of the “I.N.D.I.A” bloc alliance in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1 as two Aam Aadmi Party leaders pitched for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the bloc, on Wednesday, stating that as the Chief Minister of Delhi, he had given a model that the whole country can benefit from.

However, Delhi minister Atishi clarified that Kejriwal does not have any aspirations for the Prime Minister’s post but the alliance has come together to remove the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh agreed with Atishi, stating that Kejriwal had joined the alliance in order to save the country. “Arvind Kejriwal’s aim, objective and intention to join the INDIA alliance is to save this country. His aim is not to become the PM. He is not in the race to become PM,” Singh asserted.

Several leaders of various parties have said that their leader was the best suited to be the PM candidate of the alliance. However, the alliance leaders claimed that no one has been selected as the PM candidate yet. Addressing a joint press conference of the organising parties — Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharad Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Wednesday that the Opposition bloc has several choices to project as the Prime Ministerial candidate, while the BJP has only one. Pawar expressed confidence that the Opposition alliance will “provide a formidable alternative to bring about political change”. He further said there has been no discussion on seat-sharing within the I.N.D.I.A bloc yet.

Several senior leaders of the alliance have already arrived in Mumbai. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav arrived on Tuesday, while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived on Wednesday. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann are expected to arrive on Thursday. Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi will also arrive on Thursday.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has emerged as the likely front-runner as convenor of the alliance, but some other leaders are also in the fray. The meeting will come out with a name of the convenor. The meeting is also expected to take a hard look at the seat-sharing issues for the 2024 general election. During the meeting, the Opposition bloc will deliberate upon the general election due next year. Apart from the likely announcement of a coordination committee and the unveiling of the alliance logo, the leaders will also chalk out a joint campaign strategy to take on the BJP-NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and iron out all the differences among themselves. The leaders are also likely to announce a few panels to draft a common minimum programme of the alliance, to frame joint plans for holding agitations across the country and for seat-sharing.

“The Mumbai meeting shall come out with a clear-cut roadmap for providing a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the current regime,” RJD’s Manoj Jha said. The Opposition alliance is also likely to announce a secretariat for smooth coordination between its constituents, which is likely to be set up in the national capital.

The INDIA bloc’s first meeting was held in Patna in June, while the second one took place in Bengaluru in mid-July. The Bengaluru conclave had finalised the name of the alliance — Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

Tags: india alliance, arvind kejriwal, prime ministerial candidate