All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Waris Pathan expressed his discontent and accused the 26-like minded parties of treating them as “political untouchables” for not being invited to the two-day opposition meeting concluded in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The meeting, attended by top leaders of various opposition parties from across the country, resulted in the formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to jointly challenge the ruling NDA alliance, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Pathan, the AIMIM national spokesperson, questioned the exclusion of Asaduddin Owaisi’s party from the meeting and criticized the “so-called secular parties” for sidelining them. He pointed out that leaders who were once associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, and Mehbooba Mufti, were present at the meeting. Even Arvind Kejriwal, who had criticized Congress during the Gujarat Assembly elections, was in attendance, further adding to their sense of being ignored.
“The so-called secular parties did not call us; we are political untouchables for them. Despite our efforts to defeat BJP in 2024, they are ignoring Asaduddin Owaisi and our party,” stated Waris Pathan.
During the two-day joint meeting, the representatives of 26 opposition parties discussed various strategies to present a united front against the NDA alliance in the upcoming elections. After extensive deliberations, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee proposed the name “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance,” which was unanimously agreed upon and officially adopted.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, addressing the media after the meeting, emphasized the collective agreement among all parties on the alliance’s name.
He stated, “Earlier, we were UPA, and now all the 26 parties have given a name to the opposition, and that is – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). Everybody has agreed upon this, and the resolution for the name was passed unanimously.”
The next step for the newly formed alliance is to establish an 11-member coordination committee, comprising major parties, to ensure effective coordination and communication among the member parties.
Additionally, a ‘secretariat’ will be set up in Delhi to manage campaigns and oversee the functioning of various sub-committees addressing specific issues. The venue for the next opposition meeting will be Mumbai, and the date will be announced soon.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi highlighted the significance of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, referring to it as a fight between the idea of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He stated, “This fight is not between 2 political formations but the fight is to defend the idea of India. If you will see history, you will find that nobody has been able to fight the idea of India. It’s a fight between the idea of India and Narendra Modi.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee issued a warning to the ruling BJP, challenging them by asking, “NDA, BJP, can you challenge INDIA?” She reaffirmed her dedication to the country and its people, stating, “We love our motherland. We are patriotic people of the country. We are for the country, the world, farmers, for all.”
She further criticized the BJP for allegedly threatening the interests of various groups, including Hindus, Dalits, minorities, and farmers in Bengal and Manipur, accusing them of indulging in “buying and selling governments.”
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, in his address to the press, asserted that leaders of like-minded parties had come to Bengaluru to save the country from “hatred.”
He criticized PM Modi’s governance, stating, “In the last 9 years, PM Modi could have done a lot of things, but he destroyed all the sectors. We have gathered here not for ourselves but to save the country from hatred…”