Top leaders of at least 24 political parties would attend the second Opposition unity meeting being convened by Congress in Karnataka’s Bengaluru on July 17-18.
According to sources, eight new parties have extended their support to the Opposition parties’ efforts to present a united front against BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. “After last month’s mega Opposition meet in Bihar’s Patna, top leaders of as many as 24 political parties will be attending the second meeting which is going to take place in Karnataka’s Bengaluru,” sources said.
“Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi (KDMK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), All India Forward Bloc, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Kerala Congress (Joseph), and Kerala Congress (Mani) are among the new political parties that will be joining the meeting,” they said.
“Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will also attend the Opposition Parties meeting,” they added.
Notably, KDMK and MDMK were previously allies of the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has also invited top Opposition leaders for participation in the next unity meeting.
Congress President, in a letter addressed to top Opposition party leaders, reminded them about their participation in June 23 Opposition meeting held in Patna called by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish kumar.
“The meeting was a great success as we were able to discuss various important issues that threaten our democratic polity and came to a unanimous agreement on unitedly fighting the next General Elections,” Mallikarjun Kharge said in his invitation letter.
Congress President further reminded the leaders that we had further agreed to meet again in July. “I believe that it is important to continue these discussions and build on the momentum that we have created. We need to work together to find solutions to the challenges that our country is facing,” the letter further stated.
“In furtherance thereof, I request you to kindly make it convenient to attend the meeting followed by dinner on July 17 at 6.00 pm at Bengaluru. The meeting will continue on July 18 2023 from 11.00 am onwards. Looking forward to meeting you in Bengaluru,” Mallikarjun Kharge further stated in his letter.
The meeting of Opposition parties was slated for July 13 to 14 in Bengaluru and was shifted to July 17 to 18, according to an announcement by Congress leader KC Venugopal on July 3.
“After a hugely successful All-Opposition meeting in Patna, we will be holding the next meeting in Bengaluru on 17 and 18 July, 2023. We are steadfast in our unwavering resolve to defeat the fascist and undemocratic forces and present a bold vision to take the country forward,” Congress leader KC Venugopal said on Twitter.
The clashes between the dates for the Bihar and Karnataka assembly’s Monsoon sessions and the meeting have been reported as the reason for the postponement.
On June 29, Sharad Pawar announced at a press conference in Pune that the next meeting of Opposition leaders has been shifted from Shimla to Bengaluru owing to the prevailing weather conditions in Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on July 6 also said he will travel to Bengaluru for the meeting of the Opposition parties.
The first Opposition Unity meeting attended by more than 15 parties was held in Patna on June 23, and it was convened by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Leaders including AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin were among those who attended the meeting.
The meeting is being held to chalk out the Opposition’s strategy for defeating the BJP in the upcoming 2024 general elections.