New Delhi: Several prominent opposition leaders including NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and NC leader Farooq Abdullah will share the dais at a rally being organised by INLD in Haryana’s Fatehabad Sunday.
RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and BJP’s Birender Singh will also attend the rally to mark the birth anniversary of former deputy prime minister and INLD founder Devi Lal.
The coming together of so many regional satraps is seen as part of efforts to forge opposition unity, and Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad are also likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the rally to take the process forward.
“It will be a historic meeting that will mark the consolidation of like-minded forces against the ruling BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” JD(U) leader KC Tyagi has said.
Birender Singh’s equation with the BJP leadership has soured for some time even though his son Brijendra Singh is a Lok Sabha member of the party from Hisar in Haryana.
Tyagi, a veteran socialist leader, has been working actively to ensure the participation of most opposition leaders in the rally.
For the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the rally is seen as a show of strength by the party which is fighting for survival in Haryana following a split after its patriarch Om Prakash Chautala’s elder son Ajay Chautala formed Jannayak Janata Party, a BJP ally.
The JJP had managed to secure most of the traditional INLD votes in the last assembly polls.
”Opposition leaders from across the country will come on one stage in this rally and it will further strengthen the unity among parties before the 2024 elections,” INLD national general secretary Abhay Chautala said.
Lok Sabha member and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s Hanuman Beniwal, a former BJP ally from Rajasthan, will also attend the rally besides former Haryana minister Venod Sharma, Tyagi said.
INLD leader and former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala has also sent invitations to several other regional bigwigs, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, for attending the public meeting.
TMC MLA Vivek Gupta will represent the party at the rally, a senior leader of West Bengal’s ruling party had said on Friday.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has also been invited.
Nitish Kumar has been stressing the need for unity among the non-BJP parties, including the Congress, since he broke ties with the saffron party last month and came to Delhi to hold talks with a number of key leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Pawar and AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal.
However, with the absence of the Congress, which has been a staunch adversary of the INLD in Haryana, and some regional bigwigs like Banerjee and Rao from the rally, a grand opposition alliance remains a work in progress.