Opposition INDIA bloc coordination committee meet today; seat sharing, poll strategy key agenda

The meeting of the 14-member all-important panel of the opposition will take place at the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Delhi.

Negotiations on the seat-sharing formula and evolving a broad outlay of campaign strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections will be high on the agenda of the first meeting of the opposition INDIA bloc’s Coordination Committee on Wednesday.

The meeting of the 14-member all-important panel of the opposition will take place at the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Delhi on September 13 evening. Sources said that leaders of several opposition parties have sought an early seat-sharing formula to be worked out to ensure that a joint candidate is put up from the opposition side against the BJP candidates in Lok Sabha seats.

However, several leaders said that the parties have to “shed their egos” and “vested interests” in arriving at such a formula. While no decision has been taken on the criteria, it is likely to be based on the performance of parties on a particular seat in recent polls.

A source aware of the details said the issue of seat sharing will be addressed, even if it may not be finalised in Wednesday’s meeting. The leaders will also lay a broad outlay of the election campaign for taking on the BJP, the sources said. Ahead of the meeting, panel member Raghav Chadha said it will have discussions on issues like reaching out to people, planning joint rallies and working out door-to-door campaigns, which will be different for each state.

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“Every political party will have to sacrifice three things to make this alliance successful – ambition (‘mahatvakanksha), difference of opinion (mathbhed) and manbhed,” Chadha said. The coordination cum election strategy committee of the opposition’s INDIA bloc has 14 members – K C Venugopal (Congress), T R Baalu (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena-UBT), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Raghav Chadha (AAP), Javed Ali Khan (SP), Lalan Singh (JD-U), D Raja (CPI), Omar Abdullah (National Conference), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Abhishek Banerjee (TMC), and a member from CPI-M.

Abhishek Banerjee, who was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it on the same day, will not attend the meeting. The CPI-M has not yet nominated any member to the committee and will be absent at the meeting as well. Party sources said a decision on who will represent CPI-M will be taken at its Polit Bureau meeting scheduled on September 16-17.

At the first meeting of the Opposition bloc in Patna in June, it was decided that the strongest candidate from each seat would be picked up for the Lok Sabha polls. The resolution issued on September 1, after the third meeting of the bloc, said the parties would contest polls together “as far as possible”, and that seat sharing in arrangements in different states would be “initiated immediately” and concluded “at the earliest”.

According to opposition leaders, while states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bihar are sorted, others like Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal are likely to be challenging. The meeting will also focus on finalising campaigns and rallies to be held in the coming days. Leaders will also look at the decisions taken in meetings of the different sub-groups like the campaign committee, working group on media, research and social media sub-groups.

“A final shape will be given to the agenda including what would be the programmes and where the campaign will be held. It will all be deliberated upon,” a source said.

Over two dozen opposition parties have formed the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.



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