Nitish proposes Opposition meeting on June 15; template for poll pact on table

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 23: After his outreach with a cross-section of the regional parties, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has proposed the Congress leadership to host the Opposition unity meeting in Patna on June 15. The Bihar chief minister in his meeting with the Congress president has also shared a basic template for poll pact for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The key aides of the Bihar chief minister sounded optimistic of the Opposition unity plank finally taking shape. “The Opposition meeting will take place on June 15 in Patna. We are expecting most of the Opposition parties to join the meeting. Indeed, a few regional parties from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, who are habitual fence-sitters, will sit out,” said a top ranking functionary of the JD (U).

The Bihar chief minister had called on the Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also joined the meeting. “The Congress leaders have shown the readiness for adjustments with the regional parties. There could be adjustments on the basis of the electoral strength of the parties. The positive aspect is that the parties in the Opposition camp who were not talking to each other are sitting across the table,” added the JD (U) functionary.

The proposed June 15 meeting of the Opposition, which is likely to be announced shortly, will seek to further work on concurrence among the constituents for working formula which will bind the parties for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Even while the Bihar chief minister had held talks with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, the aides of Kumar have given up on the Biju Janata Dal leader, who argued that the fence-sitters will take a call after the Lok Sabha elections.

“There is no point chasing YSR Congress, BJD and TDP, because they will align with parties which come to power at the Centre after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” said another senior JD (U) functionary.

The Opposition meeting is likely to further discuss the formula for the seat adjustments among the constituents, besides poll narrative. They are also likely to agree to extend support to the concerns of the constituents to test their working understanding. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is seeking a joint Opposition stand against the Delhi Ordinance, which seeks to take away the effect of the May 11 Supreme Court judgment of the five-judge bench, which ruled that the services in the national capital should be under the jurisdiction of the elected government.           

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