Twenty-six Indian opposition parties have formed a coalition called “India” to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in next year’s parliamentary elections.
Congress Party President Mallikarjun Kharge said, India stands for “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance”.
“The main objective is to stand together to protect democracy and the Constitution,” Kharge told reporters at the end of a two-day meeting of 26 opposition parties in the southern city of Bengaluru.
The second meeting of the opposition parties in a month is part of their efforts to iron out differences and forge a common platform ahead of next year’s elections.
These parties hold less than half of the 301 seats held by the BJP in the 542-member lower house of parliament.
Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi said that this is a fight between the opposition India and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
“We are defending the Constitution, the voice of Indians and the idea of India… The fight is between the NDA and India, Narendra Modi and India, his ideology and India.” ndtv Quoting Gandhi.
The BJP has criticized the opposition grouping as a coalition of opportunists and the corrupt and is holding a meeting of the 38-party National Democratic Alliance on Tuesday, which it heads.
The India Alliance said in a statement that “the character of our republic is under serious attack in a systematic manner by the BJP” and pledged to “protect the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution”.
In the first sign of a common political and economic policy, the coalition said it would focus on fighting rising prices and unemployment.
It states, “We must build a fair economy with a strong and strategic public sector as well as a competitive and prosperous private sector, fostering the spirit of enterprise and giving every opportunity to expand.” “
It said, “We resolve to fight the BJP’s systemic conspiracy to target, persecute and suppress our fellow Indians.”
“From today, it is a real challenge,” said Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and the main opposition leader. “Catch us if you can.”
– With inputs from Reuters