New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, accompanied by his JD-U's President Lalan Singh, on Monday met Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi after which they announced that a meeting of opposition parties will be held in the coming days.
The Monday meeting of Nitish Kumar is being seen as the major push to bring non-BJP, like-minded parties together ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
After the meeting, Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal told the media: "We will decide the date and place for the meeting for the opposition party meeting. The date will be decided in one or two days. Majority of parties will attend."
JD-U national President Rajiv Ranjan aka Lallan Singh said: "Today in the meeting, opposition unity was discussed. And for opposition unity, an all parties meeting's date and schedule will be decided in a day or two. When the meeting will happen and who all will be invited will be informed in due course."
The meeting at the Congress chief's 10 Rajaji Marg residence had the leaders holding discussions for an hour and brainstorming to chalk out a joint strategy for 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
However, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav skipped the meeting on Monday. According to sources, he could not attend the meeting due to health reasons.
After the meeting with Nitish Kumar, Kharge, in a tweet, said: "The country will be united now. The strengthening of democracy is our message. Rahul Gandhi and I discussed the current political situation with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today and took forward the process of giving a new direction to the country".
On April 12, Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav had held meeting for the first time to bring the opposition parties together.
After the last month's meeting, the Bihar Chief Minister had said they will make all efforts to unite more and more parties in the country against the BJP. Last month, Kumar had also met leaders of a host of regional parties in his bid to bring them together on one platform with the Congress to take on the BJP in the polls next year.
The JD-U leaders had met AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday at his residence here and extended "complete support" to him over the Centre bringing ordinance to negate with Supreme Court judgement over the control of administrative services in the national capital.
On Saturday, Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah attended the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah as the Karnataka Chief Minister, in a show of opposition unity.
However, the Congress has not invited some regional leaders, including Kejriwal and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao besides others.
With the thumping victory in Karnataka, the Congress has now got more bargaining power and thus the party will not restrict itself to around 200 seats and would demand to contest on maximum seats, claiming that it is a national player unlike many regional outfits, has a presence across the country, and it is the only party that can take on BJP.
Kharge had earlier spoken to several opposition leaders including Stalin and Shiv Sena-UBT leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in an attempt to forge unity among like-minded parties to take on the BJP.
Nitish Kumar had met Soren, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, BJD leader Naveen Patnaik, Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar to bring them on same platform.