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Updated December 26th, 2023 at 22:47 IST

Rift in INDI bloc: Cong gives Kharge for PM call; Nitish miffed, Pawar says no need to announce name

28 Opposition parties joined hands under the banner of INDI alliance in order to take over the BJP ahead in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections

Apoorva Shukla
Rift in INDI alliance widens
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar during the INDIA alliance meeting in Mumbai | Image: PTI/File
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Delhi: As the Lok Sabha elections 2024 is approaching, the rift in the Indian National Developmental  Inclusive Alliance (IND alliance) seems to be widening with the fresh spat over declaration of Prime Minister face. 

28 Opposition parties joined hands under the banner of INDI alliance in order to take over the BJP ahead in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While the members of the boc are yet to arrive on a seat-sharing formula, friction seems to be increasing as parties have not been able to achieve consensus on the PM candidate. 

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Mamata, Kejriwal proposes Kharge’s name 

In the fourth meeting of INDI alliance held in Ashoka Hotel on December 19, West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal had proposed the name of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for opposition’s Prime Ministerial candidate. 

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Reports suggested that 12 of the participating parties supported Kharge’s name. Supporting Mallikarjun Kharge’s candidature, Arvind Kejriwal reportedly said, “This is a chance to have the country’s first Dalit Prime Minister.” 

Kharge pushes the issue 

Pushing the issue, Mallikarjun Kharge said that the prime minister candidate would be discussed later, suggesting that the Opposition parties will be currently focusing on the issues of suspension of MPs from the Parliament. 

“Will discuss the PM issue later. I work for the downtrodden. Let’s win first, then we will see. I don’t seek anything. For now, we have passed a resolution that the suspension of MPs is undemocratic.” 

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Nitish Kumar miffed, JD(U) leader “Kharge-Varge” 

Miffed over the same, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had called an emergency meeting of all his MPs after push for Kharge’s name in Patna. 

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“Who is Kharge-Varge? Nobody knows Kharge. You told me that he is the Congress president. Public knows Nitish ji. Nitish ji will be PM. Who knows Kharge-Varge” said JD(U) MLA Gopal Mandal after the ‘Kharge for PM’ call given by the Congress party. 

JD(U) has been adamant on portraying Nitish Kumar as the prime ministerial candidate for the Opposition’s alliance. Posters were also seen in Bihar, calling for Nitish Kumar as the PM candidate of INDI alliance. 

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Sharad Pawar says no need to declare PM 

Pulling up the example of 1977 general elections, Nationalist Congress party chief and a member of the INDI alliance Sharad Pawar, on December 26, claimed that there was no necessity to announce a prime ministerial candidate ahead of elections. 

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“In the 1977 elections, no face was projected for PM and after the election, Moraraji Desai was elected for the PM post. Desai's name was nowhere before the elections and in fact, a new party came into existence. After the polls, Moraraji Desai was made PM,” said Sharad Pawar. 

While replying to a question regarding INDI bloc’ plan in Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar said that there are no consequences if a face is not projected for PM candidate as the people will take a call to bring about the change if they are in the mood. “There are no consequences if a face is not projected. If people are in the mood for change, they will take a call to bring about that change," Sharad Pawar added. 

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Published December 26th, 2023 at 16:14 IST

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