The opposition in the country must get cracking for the next Lok Sabha polls and regional parties must be allowed to be in the "driving seat" wherever these were strong, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav asserted on Friday.
Addressing a meeting of opposition parties via video conference from here, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, the RJD leader said that recent assembly polls in West Bengal, where BJP was trounced, and Bihar where the NDA could just scrape through, could serve as an inspiration for the big battle in 2024.
The 33-year-old, who steered his party to an impressive show in the Bihar assembly polls last year thereby emerging out of the shadow of his father Lalu Prasad, underscored that the opposition needed to bring in "dhaar" (edge) and "nayaapan" (novelty) in its electoral issues.
"The opposition must fight polls on its own agenda... the experience of West Bengal and Bihar has shown how we should be taking on the BJP", said the RJD leader whose party has ended up in the opposition in the state though it has the largest number of MLAs.
"We must start working on our strategy for 2024 now. The opposition has opted for the beaten track for the past seven years... We must bring in 'dhaar' and 'nayaapan' in the issues we raise", said the former Bihar deputy chief minister.
He asserted that the opposition must start "hitting the streets" besides finalising its alliances well in advance since coalitions stitched shortly before elections left confusion in the minds of the people.
Yadav lamented that the opposition had "innumerable issues" at hand but was "unable to cash in on these despite palpable public anger".
He also stressed on the need for "better communication among opposition parties at national as well as state levels".
"The opposition must put up a credible alternative by sending across a message of unity and shared vision and programme among the parties.
"Moreover, in states where regional parties are strong, these should be allowed to be in the driving seat", the RJD leader asserted.
Notably, in Bihar, a fine performance by Yadav's party notwithstanding, old ally Congress emerged as the proverbial weak link as it could bag less than 20 seats despite contesting 70. The performance of the Left was said to be the best in recent decades though its strike rate too was not much to speak about.
A few months later in adjoining West Bengal, Yadav extended his support to Mamata Banerjee's TMC, despite his alliance in Bihar with Congress and the Left which were decimated in the assembly polls that turned out to be a straight contest between the firmly entrenched ruling party and the rapidly growing BJP.
He also appealed to all opposition parties to put pressure on the Narendra Modi government for conducting the census caste-wise.
"It is an important issue. The BJP government did not make public even the findings of the socio-economic survey conducted in 2011 when the Congress-led UPA was in power", said the leader of the opposition who is expected to be part of the delegation of political leaders from Bihar, headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which would raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi next week.