The Janata Dal (United) - JD(U) - announced on Sunday (29 May), that opposition parties are set to have their first meeting on June 12, in Patna. Several non-BJP outfits have confirmed that their top leaders will attend. This meeting is a significant show of unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is among the attendees, as confirmed by her party. It is expected to be a notable event for the opposition to build a united front against the ruling party.
Manjit Singh, a senior leader from the JD(U) made the announcement, conveying that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U) shared the date of the meeting with his fellow party colleagues during an informal gathering. Reportedly, Nitish had been requested by Mamata Banerjee to take the lead in organizing the event at Patna.
This comes as several opposition parties such as the TMC, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) have expressed concerns that the Congress may be perceived as the leader of the eventual anti-BJP coalition. Nitish has recently been making efforts to unite the opposition and bring them together on one platform before the Lok Sabha elections, reaching out to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Senior party leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi last month.
However, the president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, confirmed that his party will not stop fighting against the TMC in the state. While the TMC has shown support for Congress in Parliament in the past, he said it will not affect Congress's efforts in opposing the TMC in Bengal. Chowdhury also stated that regardless of the outcome of the Opposition meeting or any potential alliance between parties, Congress will continue their movement against the TMC.
The Patna conclave is deemed as a significant push for Nitish Kumar to position himself as a prominent leader against the BJP before the Lok Sabha elections.
Further, reports also suggest that roughly 475 constituencies could witness direct contests between the candidates of the opposition party group and the BJP.
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