Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said on Sunday, 11 September, that the Congress is still the largest Opposition party and other parties must recognise its relevance.
“We cannot wish away the fact that their numbers are higher than us in Parliament. Eventually, numbers will be the deciding factor, not statements. Others (parties) are mostly limited to their own states. So people will have to think practically and understand the situation," Yadav said in an interview with The Indian Express.
Consequently, in an effort to unite the Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the 2024 general elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad will soon meet with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Yadav told reporters.
Defeating BJP Should be ‘Personal Ambition' for Opposition Leaders: Yadav
In August, Nitish Kumar ended the Janata Dal (United)'s alliance with the BJP, and joined hands with the RJD, Congress, and other parties to form a new coalition government in Bihar. This has put pressure on the BJP and has generated hope in the Opposition ranks, said Yadav.
“It will definitely make a difference. Their (BJP's) strength has already come down after the JD(U)’s departure. Arithmetically, the combined vote share of Congress, RJD, JD(U), Left parties is beyond 50 percent," Yadav said in the interview.
"The BJP is not going to repeat its performance of winning 39 of 40 seats in Bihar. The Congress had won zero seats in Rajasthan, that is not going to happen again. If we join hands and fight with a strategy, then the BJP will definitely stop short of the halfway mark," he added.
Defeating the BJP should be the sole “personal ambition” for Opposition leaders, Yadav told The Indian Express. “A good beginning has been made. Bihar has provided a good template and it should be replicated elsewhere," he said.
On 5 September, Nitish Kumar met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and expressed his gratitude for the party's support.
"There is a concerted effort to weaken regional parties. My effort is to unite the Opposition ahead of the General Elections. I have no intention of pitching myself as a prime ministerial candidate," Kumar said, as quoted by NDTV.
Kumar said it was "stupid" of him to enter an alliance with the BJP in 2017 after parting ways four years earlier, and stressed that as long as JD(U) exists, there will be "no compromise" with the BJP.
(With inputs from The Indian Express, NDTV, and ANI.)