Nitish Kumar Meets M Kharge, Rahul Gandhi To Plan Opposition Huddle

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — who volunteered to act as the interlocutor for opposition unity ahead of the 2024 general elections – met Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi today. The meeting, coming on the heels of one with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was meant to fix a date for a big opposition meeting, which was being planned since before the Karnataka assembly election.Sources said the leaders also discussed opposition unity and whether they will attend the inauguration of the new parliament.”Opposition parties’ meet will be held. The date and place of the meeting will be announced within one or two days… A vast number of parties will be taking part in the meeting,” senior Congress leader KC Venugopal told reporters.After the meeting, Mr Kharge, in a Hindi tweet, said: “Now the country will be united, ‘The strength of democracy’ is our message! Mr. @RahulGandhi and we discussed the current political situation with the Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. @NitishKumar today and took forward the process of giving a new direction to the country”.अब एकजुट होगा देश,’लोकतंत्र की मज़बूती’ ही हमारा संदेश !श्री @RahulGandhi और हमने आज बिहार के मुख्यमंत्री श्री @NitishKumar के साथ वर्तमान राजनैतिक स्तिथि पर चर्चा कर, देश को एक नई दिशा देने की प्रकिया को आगे बढ़ाया ।— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) May 22, 2023Mr Kumar met the Congress leaders at Mr Kharge’s 10, Rajaji Marg residence in Delhi. Senior Congress leader KC Venugopal and JD(U) chief Lalan Singh were also present for the meeting, sources said. Mr Kumar’s Deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, who was also meant to attend, had to drop out at the last minute as he was unwell.Mr Kumar has so far been successful, bringing on board leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who have been hawkish about the Congress, to agree on the need for opposition unity. His only failure has been Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha known to offer issue-based support to the BJP.Yesterday, Mr Kumar had met Arvind Kejriwal and extended his “complete support” in the ongoing face-off with the Centre over the control of the bureaucrats working in the national capital.Last week Mr Kumar had met his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, where he had pitched the “One-On-One” strategy which she accepted.Strong regional parties should take on the BJP in 2024 on their home turfs and in turn, they would back the Congress in the 200-odd seats where the two national parties are in direct contest, she later said. “You want some good thing, then you have to sacrifice yourself also in some areas,” Ms Banerjee had said.It was the Bengal Chief Minister who had suggested the idea of a mega meeting in Patna.”Bihar was a symbol of change in the Centre when JP’s (Jayaprakash Narayan) movement started. If we have an all-party meeting in Bihar, we can then decide where we have to go next,” Ms Banerjee had said after her meet with Mr Kumar in Kolkata.Last week’s oath ceremony of Siddaramaiah in Karnataka following a mega victory of the Congress in the assembly elections had provided an opportunity for a show of opposition unity.Besides Mr Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah had attended the programme.