More than two dozen Indian opposition parties said on Tuesday that they had joined hands to form an alliance called “INDIA” to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in parliamentary elections next year.
The decision was announced at the end of a two-day meeting of 26 parties in the southern city of Bengaluru.
Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the main opposition Congress party, said INDIA stood for “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance”.
In a joint press conference held by opposition parties part of the alliance, Kharge said “together, we will solve many problems of the country,” according to Indian news website The Quint. The report further quoted him as saying that an 11-member coordination committee of the alliance would be set up soon.
“The next meeting will be held in Mumbai where the 11 committee members will be elected,” he said, adding that the panel and opposition leaders would also discuss and reach a consensus on seat-sharing in next year’s elections in the Mumbai meeting.
In a video of the occasion shared on the Congress party’s Twitter, he was seen hailing the alliance a “great achievement for us”.
“We have gathered here to save our democracy and the constitution. This is a collective fight against unemployment, inflation and other key issues that the country is dealing with.
“We will succeed in this fight,” he added.
Also speaking on the occasion, top Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said, “The fight is against the BJP and its ideology. This fight is between India and Narendra Modi.”
“This fight is not between two political formations but 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,” he was seen saying in videos shared by India’s ANI news agency.
Delhi-based NDTV mentioned in a report that the opposition alliance’s decision sets what Gandhi “called a ‘Modi versus INDIA’ battle for the 2024 general elections”.
The opposition alliance’s announcement coincided with a meeting of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Delhi.
“The NDA meeting in the national capital will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The meeting of the National Democratic Alliance is being organised to mark the completion of 9 years of the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” reported India’s Mint prior to the meeting.
ANI said in an update on Twitter that the NDA meeting would “chalk out a joint strategy to take on opposition alliance ‘INDIA’ in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls”.