Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday reiterated that he doesn’t want any post in the Opposition’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or I.N.D.I.A. bloc. “I don’t want to become anything. I have been telling you this again and again. I have no such desire. I just want to unite everyone,” Kumar told reporters in Patna in the presence of his deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
“Humko kuch nahi banna hai. Humari koi iccha nahi hain. Doosre logo ko banaya jayega (I do not want to become anything. I don’t have any such desire. Others will be made the convenor),” the Bihar CM said when asked if he would accept the role of the convener if offered, ahead of the next meeting of the INDIA alliance in Mumbai.
The Bihar chief minister, who led the Opposition unity move, said that he doesn’t have any personal ambition. “I only want to unite the parties,” he said.
When asked about Bihar BJP chief Samrat Choudhary’s reported remark “India did not really become independent in 1947 but in 1977 after the JP movement”, Kumar said, “…I don’t pay attention to anything they say…If someone doesn’t know about independence, it shows how illegal they are…”
As the race for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls hots up, all eyes are on the opposition bloc I.N.D.I.A.’s meeting in Mumbai where a logo of the coalition is likely to be unveiled and strategic issues including seat sharing are expected to be deliberated upon.
There is also talk of the 26-party Opposition alliance expanding with some more regional outfits joining it in Mumbai as top leaders in opposition ranks huddle for a two-day conclave starting August 31 in the capital city of Maharashtra where the BJP-Shiv Sena government is in power.
The bloc’s first meeting was held in Patna in June, while the second one took place in Bengaluru in mid-July. The Bengaluru conclave had finalised the name of the bloc – I.N.D.I.A.).
Ahead of the Mumbai meeting, Kumar on Sunday said a few more political parties were likely to join the opposition bloc during its upcoming meeting.
However, the JD(U) leader, who played an instrumental role in bringing together different parties opposed to the BJP, did not reveal the names of the likely entrants but said that poll-related modalities such as seat-sharing will be discussed at the meeting.
Talking to reporters in Patna, Kumar said, “We will discuss the bloc’s strategies for next year’s general elections during the upcoming meeting in Mumbai. Issues such as seat-sharing will be discussed and several other agendas will be finalised. A few more political parties will join our coalition.”
“I wish to unite the maximum number of parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. I am working in that direction… I have no desire for myself,” he said.
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) leader Sanjay Raut had said last week that there is a possibility that new political parties, especially from northeast India, will take part in the two-day gathering.
The Rajya Sabha MP had said leaders of the INDIA alliance, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and MPs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, will participate in the third meeting of the bloc in Grand Hyatt, a luxury hotel in suburban Mumbai.
“The INDIA (alliance) logo will be unveiled (during the meeting). Discussions are on for the same. We are trying to reach out to 140 crore Indians. The logo will symbolise the country, its unity, and reflect the energy needed to keep the country together,” Raut had said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Milind Deora said seat sharing for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections among alliance partners is more or less finalised in many states with only a few states requiring more time.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising the Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress has formed several committees to plan various aspects of the meeting of the Opposition bloc.
(With inputs from PTI)