The Congress is not interested in gaining power or staking claim to prime ministership in 2024, party president Mallikarjun Kharge told leaders of 26 opposition parties on Tuesday when they met for a brainstorming session in Bengaluru to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year.
Sources told News18 that, at the Opposition meeting, Kharge also acknowledged differences among the parties in states and set forth four agenda points for the bloc to discuss, including naming the proposed alliance.
“We are aware that, at the state level, there are differences among some of us. These differences are not ideological. These differences are not so big that we cannot put them behind us for the sake of the common man and middle class which is suffering due to inflation; for the sake of our youth who are suffering from unemployment; for the sake of the poor, the Dalits, the adivasis and the minorities whose rights are being crushed silently behind the scenes,” Kharge reportedly said.
“We are 26 parties here. Together, we are in government in 11 states today. The BJP did not get 303 seats by itself. It used the votes of its allies and came to power and then discarded them. Today, the BJP president and their leaders are running from state to state to patch up with their old allies,” the Congress president is learnt to have added.
“I had already said in Chennai on Shri Stalin’s birthday that the Congress is not interested in power or the post of the Prime Minister. Our intention in this meeting is not to gain power for ourselves. It is to protect our Constitution, democracy, secularism and social justice,” sources quoted Kharge as saying.
According to insiders, the Congress, which is hosting the meeting, set forth the following agenda:
- What should be the name of the alliance?
- What should be the common campaign issues?
- What should be the joint action plan for a combined show of strength?
- Should a small coordination committee be set up?
“I propose that we may discuss each point in detail and come up with a declaration on each of the points,” Kharge said.
Among others at the meeting hosted by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena-UBT), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), besides Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), D Raja (CPI), Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) and MDMK MP Vaiko. The Opposition meeting coincides with the NDA meeting convened on Tuesday in Delhi, where some new allies are likely to join the ruling BJP-led coalition.
With inputs from News18