By Rahil Nora Chopra
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s major step to get all opposition parties on board and project a united front against the BJP in the next year’s general elections has brought in more positive responses from several regional satraps. Nitish Kumar is to hold a significant meeting with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. This meeting is taken to be the launching pad for the formation of a new front and the announcement of the convener of the joint coalition, which is working on the strategy of ‘one against one’ by putting one common opposition candidate against BJP-led NDA nominees in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The proposed meeting is expected to be organized at Patna and witness the participation of top leaders from Congress, RJD, JD(U), TMC, JMM, Samajwadi Party, NCP, Shiv Sena, DMK, AAP, CPI, CPM, CPI-ML( liberation) and few other regional parties who are keen on joining the new front. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand CM Soren, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are going to be important attendees. Meanwhile, the grapevine is rife that Akali Dal is going to tie up with BJP and BJD will fight the Lok Sabha elections independently in 2024.
RLD, SP RIFT GROWS, AS JAYANT CHAUDHARY TILTS TOWARDS RAHUL
The cracks between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) seem to be getting bigger, with RLD leaders confirming that the party is moving ahead and looking and exploring options for allies for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and accusing SP president Akhilesh Yadav of bullying them. Both parties, however, officially maintained that there was no basis to the rumoured rift. However, speculations of problems gained steam after Akhilesh Yadav skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah in Karnataka, but Jayant Chaudhary attended it. In another such cited instance, Akhilesh recently backed West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s comment that Congress should support regional parties on seats where they have a strong foothold. However, a few days after, Chaudhary triggered speculations regarding an alliance with the Congress saying, “Our alliance with SP will continue. Simultaneously, the opposition parties will think about an alliance with Congress.” Earlier, RLD had extended their support to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and participated in his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Western Uttar Pradesh and as of now hinted at possibilities of new alliances, with the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
CM ASPIRANT VASUNDHARA RAJE SKIPS CRUCIAL RAJASTHAN BJP MEETING
All seems not that well with the BJP in Rajasthan. The infighting can be noticed and the differences within the party have emerged out in the open. The problems became evident when Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat stirred a fresh controversy by putting his support for Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s demand for an investigation into corruption allegations during the tenure of former BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Shekhawat stated: “If anyone is involved in corruption, an inquiry should be conducted but that should be conducted without political interference.” Political observers believe that Shekhawat’s statement not only aimed a target at Raje, but also Chief Minister Gehlot, much like Sachin Pilot. Meanwhile, the divisions in the party came to the fore when former CM Raje was absent from the Rajasthan BJP working committee meeting held at Ladnun in Nagaur district. While all big leaders, including the BJP in-charge, former state presidents, leader of opposition, deputy leader of opposition and central ministers from the state, were present to put forth their points, Raje refrained from the meeting. She had been attending all the working committees before, even when things were reportedly not well between her and former state president Satish Poonia. However, Raje is bracing for a fight to project herself as a CM face for the BJP and waiting for the right stroke of hour to go for a decision regarding whether she stays in BJP or form another political party altogether.
MIFFED AT CENTRE, MAMATA, KCR TO GIVE NITI AAYOG MEETING A PASS
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao have taken decision to skip the NITI Aayog meeting to be convened by PM Modi on May 27 in New Delhi. KCR also decided against deputing anyone to represent the state at the meeting. The NITI Aayog meeting is held at regular intervals so that the states can put forth their development agenda and get the Centre’s approval. KCR has attended the NITI Aayog meeting only once in the last seven years. Since 2019, he has been skipping the Governing Council meetings. KCR had said that the NITI Aayog had recommended giving Rs 24,000 crore to Telangana for the Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, but the Centre did not honour the same.
MP BJP RIDDLED WITH FACTIONALISM; CHOUHAN, SCINDIA IN WARRING CAMPS
Ahead of assembly elections, the infighting in Madhya Pradesh BJP is at a high. A faction of party leaders has reportedly requested the BJP high command to intervene and set the house in order. According to sources BJP has been divided in three factions. Among the three warring factions, one is led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, another is led by party president V D Sharma, and the third one is controlled by Jyotiraditya Scindia. Reports further claim that Chief Minister Chouhan and party president Sharma have developed rift and disagreements. As for Scindia, his main concern is to safeguard interests of those MLAs who defected from Congress. Amid the growing discontent among veteran leaders within the BJP, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan stated: “We’ve to take everyone along, which means ‘Purano ka Sammanaur Nayeko Sthaan.’ Become big-hearted, as the BJP doesn’t fight polls to make MP, MLAs, or chief minister.” (IPA Service)