Today in Politics | Will INDIA Bloc Fast-Track Seat Sharing: All Eyes on Oppn’s Mega Mumbai Meet

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Modi govt’s move to convene a special Parliament session surprises Oppn parties, setting off a sense of urgency among them as they fear BJP is ‘up to something’

The stage is set for the third meeting of the Opposition INDIA alliance in Mumbai Friday, on whose agenda is the formation of a coordination committee and firming up of the grouping’s architecture.

The INDIA bloc will unveil its logo on Friday morning. The issue of appointing a convener for the grouping would be a contentious affair, with several leaders vying for the position.

Top leaders from 28 Opposition parties from across the country, who arrived in Mumbai, held talks in an informal setting on Thursday evening to warm up a day before they focus on sketching a roadmap for taking on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray hosted a dinner for the INDIA leaders after the meeting.

However, the Opposition leaders were taken by surprise by the Modi government’s surprise decision Thursday to convene a five-day special session of Parliament from September 18 to September 22. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who sought to rake up the Adani issue afresh by holding a press conference, termed it a “panic decision” with the Opposition leaders set to discuss it during the Friday meeting, Alok Deshpande reports.

The government’s move sparked a buzz in the Opposition camp with some leaders wondering whether this was a trial balloon – in line with the BJP’s “One Nation, One Election” idea – on advancing the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May 2024.

The move became a hot topic of discussion at the Opposition camp’s informal meeting with most leaders underlining the need for parties to fast-track their unity efforts, Manoj C G reports.

Sources said Uddhav said the Modi government has something up its sleeve. Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar, who earlier this week said that the BJP could advance Lok Sabha elections, said the Opposition parties should speed up their efforts. Delhi CM and AAP chief

Arvind Kejriwal said the Opposition parties should fast-track seat sharing talks and try to announce the joint candidate arrangement by September 30.

West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said the parties should identify the key points which should become part of the joint manifesto and announce it on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Clearly, there was a sense of urgency among the Opposition parties as many felt the government was “up to something.” They decided to announce several committees Friday itself, the main one being the coordination committee. There would be smaller committees to plan joint public programmes, research and analysis, common spokespersons and identifying common issues.

While the agenda for the special Parliament session is not clear yet, there is speculation in the BJP and official circles that the Modi government could go for a big-ticket move like initiating the process for ushering in simultaneous elections in the country or the Women’s Reservation Bill, Liz Mathew reports.

A section in the government pointed to the electoral advantages of the two possibilities, while others ruled these out as an agenda for a special session, especially at a time when the Opposition is uniting and is unlikely to cooperate with the government to push through a major legislation.

The five-day session will follow the G20 Summit on September 9-10 in New Delhi, and is also expected to be an occasion for the government to showcase its “successes” in various sectors, including the hosting of the global summit and the Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission, before this year-end Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.

In Rajasthan, amid continuing rumblings in the BJP, party stalwart and ex-CM Vasundhara Raje remains in the spotlight, even as the faction-ridden saffron party unit is stepping up its attempts to take on the ruling Ashok Gehlot-led Congress dispensation in the upcoming Assembly polls.

A day before the BJP launches the ‘Parivartan Yatra’ in the state, Raje will visit several temples as part of a day-long religious tour Friday.

Travelling by helicopter, Raje will first visit the Charbhuja Nath temple in Rajsamand district in the morning. After this, she will visit two more temples — Nathdwara temple in Rajsamand district and then Tripura Sundari temple in Banswara.

From Banswara, Raje will fly down to Kota, where she will pay her condolences to a recently-deceased relative of former MLA Prahlad Gunjal, who is her staunch supporter.

“She routinely goes on temple visits and the tour on Friday is also in the same sequence. Raje will be present at Sawai Madhopur on Saturday when the Parivartan Yatra is launched by party national president J P Nadda,” said a source in the Raje camp.

Notably, in the past, when she was declared the party’s CM candidate, Raje had kicked off her election yatras from Charbhuja Nath temple in 2003, 2013 and 2018.

However, the BJP has not declared any CM face for the state polls this time.

While the BJP refrained from commenting on Raje’s temple tour, the former CM has, in recent times, gone on temple visits, titled “Dev Darshan Yatras”, as occasions to mobilise her supporters across the state.

The BJP’s four Parivartan Yatras, to be launched between September 2 and 5, would cover all the 200 Assembly constituencies and close to 9,000 km across the state.

The second yatra will be launched by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 3 from Beneshwar Dham in Dungarpur. It would cover 52 constituencies in 19 days. The third yatra will be launched on September 4 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from Ramdevra in Jaisalmer. It would cover 51 constituencies in 18 days.

The fourth BJP yatra will be launched by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on September 5 from Gogamedi in Hanumangrh, which would cover 50 constituencies in 18 days.

Source : Indian Express