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BJP flexes muscles with NDA meet on same day as Oppn

Source: PTI
July 17, 2023 16:24 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is set to host a meeting of its constituents on Tuesday in what is being seen as a show of strength by the ruling alliance amid a get-together of opposition parties in Bengaluru to forge unity, as the two sides step up their campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated by Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda during the 'Mmkhyamantri parishad' meeting at the party headquarters, New Delhi, May 28, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The NDA meeting in New Delhi will see the presence of a host of existing and new BJP allies, as the ruling party has worked overtime in recent weeks and months to seal fresh alliances and win back those who had quit the ruling combine.

While there is no official word on the number of parties which will be represented in the meeting, sources said they will be representative of all regions and showcase the expanded strength of the NDA amid criticism that the BJP had been unable to take along its allies.


After losing a number of its traditional allies such as the Janata Dal-United, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, the BJP has succeeded in making alliances with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, now recognised by the Election Commission as the real party, the Ajit Pawar-led faction of Nationalist Congress Party, O P Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Partyin Uttar Pradesh and Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindutsani Awam Morcha-Secular and Upendra Kushwala-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party.

BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda has send invites to these parties for their presence in the meeting where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the ruling party will also be present.

Parties such as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of Tamil Nadu and Pawan Kalyan's Jan Sena of Andhra Pradesh are among the other parties that will be present in the meeting, besides a number of them from northeast states and other parts of the country.

It will be the first such NDA meeting of this scale during the second term of the Modi government, underscoring the imperative within the ruling party to project its credentials as a lead coalition partner in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, expected to be held in April-May next year.

Regional parties, including those with small but a solid share of votes in a particular region or caste, can be crucial in swinging the balance in the polls in several seats in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

With the BJP making all-out efforts to retain its majority in Lok Sabha for a third straight term, its leadership has made pragmatic adjustments to accommodate new allies while also working to weaken the opposition bloc in crucial states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

 The Congress on Monday asserted that the Opposition unity would be "a game changer" for the Indian political scenario and took a swipe at the BJP, saying those who used to talk of defeating the opposition parties alone are now making attempts to breathe new life into the NDA which had become a "ghost".

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on the two-day crucial deliberations of Opposition parties starting this evening, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suddenly remembered the NDA.

"Attempts are being made to breathe new life into the NDA. There used to be no talk about NDA and suddenly since the past few days we are hearing and reading about it. Suddenly, it was reported that an NDA meeting has been called for tomorrow. So NDA, which had become a ghost, attempts are now being made to breathe a new life into it," Ramesh said.

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