The joint Opposition rally held at Fatehabad in Haryana on Sunday organised by the INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala on the occasion of the birth anniversary of his father Devi Lal has made success in facilitating the unity of the anti-BJP political parties to take on the Narendra Modi Government in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. There are three positive pointers from this rally for the Opposition. First, Nitish Kumar who was the main attraction at the rally announced that Congress must be part of the anti-BJP coalition, though the Congress was not invited by the host at the rally. There was no Opposition to this politically important statement of the chief minister of Bihar, from those who had reservations about joining the Congress in any coalition, INLD included. The three main constituents of the NDA, JD(U), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal were in the rally and that meant while the anti-BJP Opposition was growing in strength, the NDA was left with BJP alone.
Significantly, both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav met Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the rally and discussed the Opposition unity and the importance of her role in this process. Reports said that the two leaders requested Sonia Gandhi to take lead in bringing the Opposition together. Nitish Kumar will be meeting the Congress leader after the presidential elections in the Congress Party is over on October 19. RJD Leader Lalu Yadav is ill and he is supposed to go to Singapore for kidney transplantation. If that is so, Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav, the Bihar deputy chief minister will be meeting the Gandhis and the new Congress president in the first week of November. As of now, Nitish Kumar is the fittest Opposition leader to carry on follow-up discussions with the other non-BJP political parties. Nitish is most secure now in Bihar as the BJP, his main Opposition finds itself isolated. Nitish is cool-headed unlike TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and he has that acceptability to talk across all parties including the BJD, YSRCP, and AAP.
Only eighteen months are left for the holding of the Lok Sabha polls in March/April 2024. Before that, a series of State assembly polls will be held in the country. The BJP is concentrating all its attention on the coming State polls and its leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home minister Amit Shah, and the BJP president JP Nadda are monitoring the developments daily. For the major parties of the Opposition, the supreme need is to defeat the BJP in the State polls and that is where the major party, the Congress is lacking. The prime objective is to bring the maximum number of non-BJP political parties into the anti-BJP camp after the Lok Sabha polls. The Prime Ministerial candidate can be decided in the post-poll scenario if there is a hung Parliament, based on the strength of the respective political parties and the maximum acceptability of the proposed candidate by the participating parties. The entire process will need flexibility and a visionary approach. Certainly, the eighth time chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar and Sharad Pawar are suited to lead negotiations in the post-election process.