The INDIA bloc on Friday resolved to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together "as far as possible" and vowed to conclude their seat-sharing arrangements at the earliest in a spirit of "give-and-take", while exuding confidence that they would easily defeat the BJP.
Amid speculation of early polls and the formation of a panel to explore the possibility of 'one nation, one election', Opposition bloc leaders took crucial decisions, including setting up of a 14-member coordination committee that will act as the top decision-making body of the alliance and will start work on seat sharing.
Sources said the body has been asked to work out a seat-sharing formula by the end of this month, a suggestion made during informal talks between leaders.
In a resolution passed at the meeting in Mumbai, the INDIA bloc said, "We, the INDIA parties, hereby resolve to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections together as far as possible. Seat-sharing arrangements in different states will be initiated immediately and concluded at the earliest in a collaborative spirit of give-and-take."
It also resolved to "organise public rallies at the earliest in different parts of the country on issues of public concern and importance."
The resolution said the INDIA parties will coordinate their communications and media strategies and campaigns with the theme 'Judega Bharat, Jeetega India' in different languages.
Addressing the media after the India bloc's third meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "I am confident the INDIA bloc will defeat the BJP. We may have differences, but we all work with great flexibility."
He said the alliance will propose a clear development path that involves poor people in the progress of country.
The 14-member coordination committee that will act as the highest decision-making body of the alliance has K C Venugopal of the Congress, T R Baalu of the DMK, Sharad Pawar of the NCP and Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena its members.
Hemant Soren of the JMM, Raghav Chadha of the AAP, D Raja of CPI, Javed Ali Khan of SP, Tejashwi Yadav of RJD, Lalan Singh of JD-U, Abhishek Banerjee of TMC, Omar Abdullah of NC and Mehbooba Mufti of PDP are also in the panel.
The CPI-M will give the name of their leader later.
NCP's Sharad Pawar slammed the BJP for its 'ghamandia' barb against the INDIA grouping, saying it shows their arrogance.
Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said INDIA parties have resolved to fight corruption and mitra-parivarvad.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said, "The BJP government is rattled by coming together of secular forces, we will consolidate it with public meets across country."
"We all have a common goal to fight inflation, unemployment, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said. He alleged the government is stealing from the poor to help big industrialists. "The INDIA grouping must win to stop this loot."
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said PM Modi benefited because opposition parties were not together. He slammed the government, saying minorities not feeling safe in the country and prices rising constantly.
"We all will be accommodative, there will be no problem in seat-sharing among INDIA bloc parties," he said.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said with all opposition parties coming together, those in power at Centre will have to go now.
"There is no certainty, but elections can be held early, so we've to remain alert and be prepared. We have discussed this," he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the INDIA bloc is not an alliance of some parties, it is alliance of 140 crore Indians who want to build a new India. "There has never been such an arrogant government at Centre; their arrogance will bring them down."
Against the backdrop of the government forming the panel to explore the possibility of "one nation, one election", Kharge, in a post on X, said no matter how many "diversions and distractions" the ruling regime throws at the people, they shall not be betrayed anymore.
He asserted the countdown of this "autocratic government's exit has begun".
The government has constituted a committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of "one nation, one election", opening up the possibility of Lok Sabha polls being advanced so that they could be held with a string of state assembly contests.
Addressing the opposition meeting, Kharge said the strength of the opposition alliance is making the government "nervous" and INDIA bloc partners should be prepared for "vendetta politics" as there will be more "misuse" of agencies against them.
He launched a frontal attack on the government alleging the "communal poison" that the BJP and RSS have allegedly spread over the last nine years is now manifested in hate crimes against innocent train passengers and schoolchildren.
His apparent reference was to the incidents of a railway police constable fatally shooting people on board a train last month, and a teacher at a Muzaffarnagar school asking students to slap their Muslim classmate for not completing his homework.
In his opening remarks, Kharge said the success of both the previous meetings -- in Patna and Bengaluru -- can be measured by the fact that the prime minister in his subsequent speeches has not just attacked INDIA but has also "compared the name of our beloved country with a terrorist organisation and a symbol of slavery".
"We should be prepared for more attacks in the coming months, more raids and arrests due to this government's vendetta politics. The more ground our alliance gains the more the BJP government will misuse agencies against our leaders," he said.
Kharge, former Congress chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, among others, are participating in the discussions.
National Conference's Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, CPI-ML leader Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, Independent Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal and RLD's Jayant Chaudhary, were also among those present at the talks.
Before the meeting, all the INDIA bloc leaders posed for a group photograph.
Opposition alliance leaders also passed a resolution hailing ISRO's successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 mission, and asserted that it took six decades to build, expand and deepen the space agency's capacities and capabilities.