West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Delhi, has once again triggered speculations of a united opposition front against BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. She has been meeting various Opposition leaders in the capital city ostensibly in an attempt to unite them.
Poore desh me khela hoga. It’s a continuous process…When General Elections come (2024), it will be Modi vs country: West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee in Delhi pic.twitter.com/gA4aWhjtoy— ANI (@ANI) July 28, 2021
Banerjee’s visit comes in the midst of the Monsoon session of Parliament, which has been witnessing protests every day on the Pegasus issue and farm laws.
Political activity has increased amongst opposition parties recently. The Bengal Chief Minister’s election strategist Prashant Kishor, who is also being rumored to join the Congress, had on last month met Sharad Pawar and Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.
Despite its organizational issues, Congress, too has been reaching out to other Opposition parties. Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge had on Wednesday chaired a meeting of 14 Opposition parties to discuss ‘strategy to corner government in Parliament’.
But one question still remains unanswered in Opposition camp, ‘who will be leading the Anti-BJP front?’.
Mamata Banerjee during a press meet after visiting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi has already said that she has no problem if someone else leads.“
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, talking on the matter on Thursday cautioned that opposition parties “should not bother about leadership now” and that if they debate on who should lead at this moment, the opposition front will never take off.
While Congress still remains the largest party in the Opposition, there has also been calls to ditch the Congress-led United Progress Alliance to create a broader alliance of parties. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told Economic Times on Thursday that it is time to create ‘a new and broader national alliance’ against the BJP as the UPA is now ‘weak and defunct.’
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala too has said that he will be meeting all opposition leaders to ‘stich a strong third front’.
As the Opposition strengthens its resolve, BJP has been drawing up its own plans in defense. During a meeting of BJP MPs, Modi asked his party leaders to ‘expose’ the opposition for not letting the parliament function. Both houses in the Parliament has been seeing repeated adjournments due to opposition protests. The Prime Minister added that “the government is ready for a discussion but opposition is not.”
Despite the PM saying that the government is ready to talk, the BJP MPs have been stalling any discussion on Pegasus. In fact, the BJP MPs walked out of the IT Panel meet on the issue forcing it to be put off.
The coming months will be crucial as the Opposition leaders attempt to come together, despite their difference, to field a united front against the saffron party.