The Congress is not interested in power or the prime minister’s post, party chief Mallikarjun Kharge said at the second Opposition party meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday, reported PTI.
Twenty-six Opposition parties have gathered for the second day of the meeting to formulate a strategy to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Opposition parties are likely to discuss a name for the alliance and details of seat-sharing.
The first Opposition meeting held on June 23 in Patna was attended by leaders of 15 parties.
On Tuesday, Kharge said that there are differences between the Opposition parties at the state level but these are not ideological or too big to be put behind for the sake of the “the common man and middle class”.
He urged the Opposition to set aside these differences and take on the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported PTI.
“We are 26 parties, in government in 11 states,” Kharge said, reported The Indian Express. “BJP didn’t get 303 seats by itself, it used votes of allies then discarded them.”
The Congress chief said that every institution is being turned into a weapon against the Opposition.
“The CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation], ED [Enforcement Directorate], Income Tax are routinely used,” he added. “False criminal cases are filed against our leaders so that they get caught in the legal process. Constitutional authorities are used to suspend our MPs. MLAs are being blackmailed or bribed to move to BJP and topple governments.”
Leaders of the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Lok Dal had attended the first meeting.
This time, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India Forward Bloc, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress (Joseph) and Kerala Congress (Mani) have been invited.
The BJP has also called a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Alliance in Delhi on Tuesday. BJP President JP Nadda has said that 38 parties have confirmed their participation.
In a swipe at the NDA meeting, Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh said that it was the direct impact of 26 Opposition parties coming together.
“After the Patna conclave on June 23rd, and the fact that more parties are attending the Bengaluru conclave tomorrow, the BJP is desperately trying to infuse life into the NDA,” he tweeted.
‘Family first, nation nothing’: Modi on Opposition meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described the Bengaluru meeting as “kattar bhrashtachar sammelan [meeting of the hardcore corrupt]”, reported ANI.
“Another speciality of this meeting is that if someone is out on bail in a corruption of crores of rupees, they are seen with great respect,” Modi said at an event. “If the entire family is out on bail, they are more honoured...If someone insults a community and is punished by the court, he is honoured...”
The prime minister also accused the Opposition parties of “dynastic politics”, alleging that family comes before the country for them.
“Family first, nation nothing,” he said. “This is their motto... There is hatred, corruption and appeasement politics. The country is a victim of the fire of dynastic politics. For them, only their family’s growth matters not that of the poor in the country.”