Unveiling of the INDIA bloc's logo, charting out a roadmap and evolving a structure for cooperation among the alliance partners to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will be on the agenda of the third meeting of the opposition parties to be held in Mumbai on Friday. The third meeting of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) alliance is scheduled to start at 10.30 am at Grand Hyatt Hotel here. As many as 63 representatives from 28 political parties are taking part in the meeting.
During the conclave, discussion on formulating a common minimum programme and forming a coordination committee of the principal opposition parties is also likely.
Ahead of the meeting, the opposition bloc's logo is expected to be unveiled, while after the deliberations get over, a press conference will be held in the afternoon to give information about what decisions were taken during the conclave. Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said talks will be held on the formation of coordination committees and appointing a convenor.
"It will be known after the meeting if a decision has been arrived at,'' he said.
During an informal meeting of the alliance partners held at the hotel on Thursday, most leaders stressed the need to discuss seat sharing at the national level and finalising the process of poll preparations as soon as possible. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah, former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and CPI general secretary D Raja had arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday for the meeting.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and others arrived on Thursday. The informal meeting of all the leaders on Thursday evening was followed by a dinner hosted by Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray. It was learnt that during the informal meeting, the leaders deliberated on fixing the agenda of the formal meeting on Friday when key decisions about the alliance's future strategy would be taken. Thackeray, Kejriwal and some other leaders described the informal meeting as good. Kejriwal said his party demanded that seat-sharing across the country be discussed at the meeting on Friday.
Ahead of the crucial third round of discussions, the alliance has exuded confidence that it would provide a formidable alternative to bring a political change in the country and asserted that it has several prime ministerial faces, unlike the BJP. Several leaders of the alliance on Thursday said they have come together to save the Constitution and democracy in the country, and would evolve a common programme as they prepare to take on the ruling BJP. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said defeating the INDIA alliance was not only difficult but impossible.
Former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav said the need of the hour is to strengthen the unity and sovereignty of the country, and to protect the Constitution and democracy. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann said the formation of the INDIA alliance was aimed at saving the country, while his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren said parties taking part in the meeting will deliberate on their views about the country, its democracy and the Constitution. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury claimed that people's response to INDIA has "unnerved" the prime minister and the BJP. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) comprising the Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP and Congress has formed several committees to plan various aspects of the meeting of the opposition bloc. This is the first meeting of the INDIA alliance in a state where none of the bloc members are in power.
After the meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Tilak Bhavan, the party's state unit headquarters here, to meet leaders and workers, party sources said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)