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Ahead Of INDIA Blocs Mumbai Meeting, Rahul Gandhi As PM Chorus Grows Louder

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the crucial two-day INDIA bloc meeting in Mumbai beginning Thursday, the call to appoint Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition-led alliance has gained momentum. Sanjay Nirupam, a Maharashtra Congress leader, voiced the sentiment on Thursday, stating that, like other parties, Congress members wished to see Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister.

Speaking to ANI news agency prior to the third opposition meeting in Mumbai, Nirupam remarked, “Congress workers and we all want Rahul Gandhi to become the Prime Minister. But this decision has to be taken jointly by all the parties of the alliance.”

Interestingly, on Wednesday, Aam Admi Party spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar expressed similar sentiments, prompting the party to clarify that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not vying for the Prime Ministerial position.

Conversely, Nitish Kumar reiterated his lack of prime ministerial aspirations, emphasizing his role in leading the opposition’s efforts against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Regarding the opposition bloc’s Prime Ministerial candidate, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that the “PM face is secondary” and the “PM face will be INDIA.”

“We have not discussed the PM face. We are all part of the INDIA family and share the common goal of saving our country. The identity of the PM face is secondary. The PM face will be INDIA,” Mamata Banerjee expressed in a statement from the All India Trinamool Congress.

Meanwhile, the BJP took a critical stance on the INDIA alliance, suggesting that every member aspired to become Prime Minister and accusing the alliance partners of deep-seated corruption.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra commented, “There is a game of musical chairs among the alliance partners. This kind of alliance was formed earlier as well, but when elections approached, they started fighting among themselves.”

“The meeting of ‘Ghamandia Gathbandhan’ (Arrogant Alliance) is taking place in Mumbai today. These parties have been involved in scams and corruption amounting to Rs 20,000 lakh crores. It’s a self-serving alliance. Their agenda is maximizing profits through corruption,” Patra added.

With preparations intensifying for next year’s Lok Sabha elections, the 26-member opposition bloc – INDIA – is set to convene its third meeting in Mumbai on Thursday. Building on their previous discussions in Bengaluru, the alliance will chart a course against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.

The partner leaders in the bloc will deliberate on the battle strategy for the upcoming general elections and explore a seat-sharing arrangement. During the two-day meeting commencing on Thursday, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) is also expected to unveil its logo.

Additionally, the INDIA alliance is poised to introduce a secretariat in New Delhi to foster seamless interaction among its members. On Thursday, the INDIA leaders will engage in informal discussions, followed by a formal meeting on September 1.

While the initial meeting of the opposition bloc was convened by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the third gathering is being hosted by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the opposition alliance in Maharashtra, comprising the Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by Sharad Pawar.

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