The Opposition front will hold its third meeting in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1.
New Delhi: Months after 26 opposition parties launched a front to defeat the BJP in the 2024 elections, cracks seemed to have appeared in the 'INDIA' bloc regarding its prime ministerial face. The BJP has reacted to the development with a swipe at the opposition bloc. "The development shows there is a hide-and-seek game within the opposition," it said
A senior leader of Janata Dal (United) has pitched for Nitish Kumar - a key member of the bloc - as the prime ministerial face. "Nitish Kumar only wants next government to be formed by INDIA alliance. Although he does not hold prime ministerial ambitions, there are talks across the country that Nitish Kumar is a worthy candidate for the PM face of the opposition bloc," Shrawan Kumar, a minister in Nitish Kumar's government, said.
Shrawan Kumar's remark comes just days after the president of Congress's Uttar Pradesh unit said the "Congress workers want to see Rahul Gandhi as prime minister" in 2024. "Every party worker has decided that in 2024, everyone in the Congress wants to see Rahul Gandhi as prime minister of India. The youth, every farmer, every labourer, every villager, and every mother and sister wants him to be Prime Minister. Who has the responsibility to make this happen? I ask who has the responsibility to make Rahul the Prime Minister? It lies with Uttar Pradesh," UP Congress President Ajay Rai said at a public meeting.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also pitched for "Rahul Gandhi as PM". "The Congress has decided to make Rahul Gandhi the PM candidate," he told India Today
Reacting to the development, the BJP alleged that the JD(U)'s push for "Nitish Kumar as PM" was due to pressure from its alliance partner in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal, which wants him to vacate the Chief Minister's chair.
"RJD is putting pressure on Nitish Kumar to move to national politics and vacate the seat of Chief Minister for Tejashwi Yadav," BJP leader Nikhil Anand said.
"There is a contradiction between Lalu Yadav's RJD and Nitish Kumar's party. What has happened to Nitish Kumar's zero tolerance towards crime? He was completely aloof when he was asked about this by reporters," he added.
Earlier this month, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri predicted a collapse of the Opposition bloc, pointing to parties with disparate ideologies that have been sworn enemies in states for decades. "The Aam Aadmi Party is a new arrival, a political start-up. They were born of an agitation against entrenched corruption. Today they want to tie up with someone who defined the entrenched corruption," Puri, who handles the Petroleum and housing ministries, said in an interview.
The Congress - which is the largest member of the bloc - has also hit out at "secular leaders" like Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for not showing interest in the opposition bloc. "You call yourself a secular party here. But, you are in cahoots with BJP from inside there," he said while addressing a public meeting at Chevella near Hyderabad.
The Opposition front will hold its third meeting in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1. Approximately 80 leaders from more than 26 political parties are expected to attend the meeting, where the bloc is likely to unveil its logo.
At present, 26 parties are part of the grouping, and a few more are set to join the alliance during the two-day meeting, according to reports.