Opposition leaders call for united front to defeat BJP

Several top Opposition leaders, including the CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, congregated for a mega rally organised by Haryana’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Fatehabad district on the occasion of the late party founder and former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Monday, September 26, 2022, 12:49 AM IST
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Several top Opposition leaders, including the CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, congregated for a mega rally organised by Haryana’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Fatehabad district on the occasion of the late party founder and former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary. | Twitter

In a major step towards forging a united anti-BJP front, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other prominent Opposition leaders on Sunday called for a new alliance including the Congress for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, stressing that a bipolar contest will ensure the BJP's defeat.

Several top Opposition leaders, including the CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, congregated for a mega rally organised by Haryana’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Fatehabad district on the occasion of the late party founder and former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary.

The leaders slammed the BJP-led central government for rising inflation and unemployment and accused it of selling public property to a few individuals and creating divisions in society on caste and religion.

Nitish Kumar said the BJP had ensured the defeat of his party's candidates in the Bihar Assembly elections in 2020 and though he did not want to become Chief Minister after the mandate asked him to lead the government.

"If all non-BJP parties unite, which must include our friends from the Congress, we can get rid of those working to destroy the country," the Bihar Chief Minister said. His deputy, Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, was among the Opposition leaders in attendance.

Nitish Kumar urged INLD patriarch Om Parkash Chautala, son of the late Devi Lal, to meet more leaders from different parties and bring them together.

Pawar, former Union Agriculture Minister, lauded the farmers of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Western Uttar Pradesh for fighting the central government over the three farm laws and forcing their repeal.

Yechury came down heavily on the BJP-led government and said it was acting as a manager selling public property to a few individuals.

Janata Dal (United) general secretary KC Tyagi said Nitish Kumar had come from Patna to challenge Delhi rule at a time when eight former Congress chief ministers had joined the BJP. He said Mr Kumar had no fear of the Enforcement Directorate, Income-Tax Department or other central agencies.

Sukhbir Badal said the INLD and SAD were brothers and the rights of farmers could only be saved by the leaders at the rally. He, too, appealed to all parties in the country to unite to uproot the BJP.

Among those who skipped the rally were Meghalaya Governor and Jat leader Satyapal Malik, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal and former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference. The Shiv Sena of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was represented by its South Mumbai MP Arvind Sawant.

Hitting back, BJP president JP Nadda, who was in Kerala, said the only thing common to these Opposition parties was "dynastic politics and corruption".

Though no one from the Congress attended the rally, Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence in the national capital after the public meeting.

Nitish Kumar later told reporters that all parties are on the same page in the fight against the BJP and talks on a concrete plan of action will be held after the election of the Congress president.

Regional bigwigs like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who have shown an inclination to form a non-Congress alliance to take on the BJP in the past, stayed away from the rally, besides Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

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