Battle 2024: Oppn alliance INDIA braces for bumpy ride ahead, BJP calls new grouping ‘old wine in new bottle’

08:22 AM Jul 20, 2023 | PTI |

With battlelines drawn for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the newly formed opposition alliance INDIA on Wednesday braced for a bumpy ride ahead from ironing out differences in states to seat sharing and choosing its leader even as the ruling BJP called the coalition ”old wine in new bottle.” As a political slugfest erupted a day after 26 opposition parties formed a front–Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA)–to unitedly take on the ruling BJP-led NDA at the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the Congress rejected speculation that the JD(U) leader was dissatisfied for not being made the convenor of the new grouping.


Kumar, who hosted the first mega meeting of opposition parties in Patna last month, also reiterated he does not have any ambition for himself, adding leaders at the opposition conclave held in Bengaluru on Tuesday were happy at the outcome of the deliberations.

While Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told PTI there is a ”new enthusiasm” among the constituents of INDIA, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee claimed that the BJP was ”shivering with fear” after the formation of the opposition grouping.

The assertions by Ramesh and Banerjee came even as senior BJP leader and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister PK Dhumal said the opposition front would fall “like a pack of cards” before the Lok Sabha elections.

BSP chief Mayawati, meanwhile, announced that her party will go it alone in the next Lok Sabha elections as well as in Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, dubbing the NDA, INDIA coalitions ”anti-Dalit” alliances.


A resolution adopted at a meeting of the 39 constituents of the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) in Delhi on Tuesday said the opposition is faced with a crisis of identity and relevance. ”Today, the opposition is confused and disoriented,” the resolution said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the meeting.

The BJP also intensified the online political fight as the party posted three short videos on social media portraying its rivals as ten-headed Ravana. In one video, the BJP sought to convey that the people of the country are confused with the opposition alliance as it does not have any policy, vision and a leader to head the coalition.

The BJP also took a swipe at the opposition parties over a Samajwadi Party(SP) legislator’s remark in the Maharashtra Assembly on chanting ‘Vande Mataram’, asking if this was their idea of ‘INDIA’.

The BJP’s reaction came after SP MLA Abu Azmi, while raising the Sambhajinagar district riots issue in the Assembly, said chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ was unacceptable to him.

”Is this idea of I.N.D.I.A? Or is this anti-India? SP is a part of this alleged I.N.D.I.A,” BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said in a tweet, taking a swipe at the newly formed coalition.

Asked about the name INDIA chosen by opposition parties for their alliance, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said, ”Someone does not change by changing name. They are the same people. It is a old wine in new bottle.” The new alliance, meanwhile, finalised ”Jeetega Bharat” as its tagline, setting the tone for its Lok Sabha election campaign. The Hindi tagline means ”India will win” and is likely to be replicated in several regional languages, sources said.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating a month-long ‘Malmas Mela’ in Rajgir in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar claimed that the BJP will be wiped out in the Lok Sabha polls.

“The (Bengaluru) meeting was very fruitful and we all are very happy with the outcome. I could not attend the press conference after the conclave as I had to come back to Patna. My effort is to unite all opposition parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls… and now things are taking shape,” the JD(U) leader said.

BJP leader Sushil Modi on Tuesday had claimed that Nitish Kumar returned to Patna without attending the press meet as he was “upset” over not being made the convenor of the alliance.

The CM asked, ”Who takes Sushil Modi seriously?” “We are working to unify all non-BJP parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Patna opposition meet was attended by 16 parties and there were 26 parties in Bengaluru. Our numbers are increasing and the unity of the opposition parties is getting strengthened,” he added.

JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ described as ”dushprachar” (canard) reports of Nitish Kumar being unhappy with the acronym INDIA and going into a sulk over not being made convener of the new coalition.

The name INDIA bore the stamp of approval from all leaders present at the opposition conclave, said Lalan, who accompanied the CM on the trip to Bengaluru.

He also asserted that selecting the convenor was not on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting.

“It may be thought about when the next meeting takes place in Mumbai…. Nitish Kumar is the sutradhar (driving force) of opposition unity. And a sutradhar never gets angry,” Lalan said in Patna.

He also claimed that the NDA meeting on Tuesday was indicative of its ”desperation”.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala asserted that no matter how hard the BJP tries to create a rift in the opposition alliance INDIA, it will not succeed.

”We are all united. No matter how hard the BJP and Modi ji try to create a rift in Team India, they will not succeed,” he told reporters in Delhi.

”The restlessness of the BJP is understandable. I wish them luck in continuing with their conspiratorial agenda.” Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said parties that love the country and motherland have come together, and asserted there is now a strong front against “dictatorship.” SP president Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at the NDA and said the ruling coalition’s meeting in Delhi was its ”farewell ceremony.” ”The BJP has become afraid of ‘INDIA’. This name (of opposition bloc) is good. ‘INDIA’ is a message of development and inclusiveness,” Yadav said in a statement in Lucknow.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut also took a swipe at the BJP, saying the ruling party remembered the NDA only after 26 opposition parties came together to form the grouping INDIA.

BJP leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the new opposition grouping does not have a consensus candidate to take on Prime Minister Modi and they will soon start fighting among themselves.

AIADMK general secretary and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami claimed the NDA would win 330 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.


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