New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, and pitched for bringing all opposition parties together to defeat the BJP in 2024. The meeting at Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence is being considered very crucial in forging an opposition unity as efforts are on to reconcile differences between the Congress and some regional parties that have been at loggerheads traditionally.
This was Kumar’s first meeting with Gandhi since he severed ties with the BJP and joined hands with the RJD and the Congress to form the government in Bihar in August. This was also Lalu Prasad’s first active political engagement in a long time. He has been ailing for some time now.
‘We have to bring all opposition parties together to defeat the BJP. The Congress is in the process of electing its new president and Sonia Gandhi told us we will meet again after the election’, after the meeting, Lalu Prasad told reporters. Kumar said there is a need for all opposition parties to join hands and work together to take the country forward. ‘All opposition parties on the same page in the fight against the BJP and discussion on a concrete plan of action will happen later after the election for the post of Congress president’, he told reporters after the meeting.
The nomination process for the election to the Congress president’s post is underway and the polling, if needed, is scheduled for October 17. Earlier in the day, Kumar called for uniting all opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, to take on the BJP and said this ‘main front of opposition’ will ensure that the saffron party loses badly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. If all non-BJP parties unite, then they can get rid of those who are working to destroy the country, Kumar said at a rally organised by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana to mark former deputy prime minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary.
INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, both with a long history of fighting the Congress, were on the stage with other senior leaders such as NCP’s Sharad Pawar, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was also on the stage in what was seen as a step towards unity among non-BJP parties. However, no one from the Congress attended the rally.