ANI Photo | “Want to preserve Idea of India, Constitution”: Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge on Opposition meeting

Claiming “BJP is clueless and their policies are hurting India,” Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge on Monday said the leaders of Opposition parties are gathering in Bengaluru to “preserve the idea of India” and the Constitution.
“We have all come together with a certain ideology, and we have come together to preserve the idea of India and the Constitution. If the BJP has a problem with our unity, it means that they are afraid that they will be unseated,” the Congress leader told ANI ahead of the 2-day opposition meeting starting in Bengaluru today.
“You can also see how BJP’s and Prime Minister’s Modi’s magic is waning…This goes to show that Mr Modi’s popularity is down, BJP is clueless and their policies are hurting India,” the minister added.
On AAP’s participation in the joint opposition meeting after Congress declared to oppose the Centre’s Ordinance overturning Supreme Court ruling vesting powers in the Delhi government, Karnataka Minister said they were “against the dictatorial attitude” of the central government.
“We are very clear on what is happening in Delhi. The Ordinance route that they (the Centre) have taken to take away the powers of the state government is not in good taste. Today it is happening in Delhi, tomorrow it might happen in Karnataka. So, we are against this dictatorial attitude of the Central Govt,” he said.
Leaders of at least 25 Opposition parties will converge at a hotel in Bengaluru on July 17-18 as part of their efforts to present a united front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar, has been deputed as in-charge to monitor all the preparations for the meeting.
Arrangements have been made for all the opposition leaders to stay at a five-star hotel in the city, party sources said.
As per a tentative schedule, on Monday, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications, Jairam Ramesh, and Congress general secretary, KC Venugopal will hold a joint press conference at 11 am.
And all the opposition leaders will start arriving for the meeting in the afternoon.
An informal meeting is scheduled at 6 pm after which there will be dinner at 8 pm.
On July 18, the meeting will kick off at 11 am and will continue till 4 pm. Following this, there will be a press conference in which the campaign strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls may be announced.
According to sources, the name of the opposition alliance will be decided, and the common minimum program will be discussed in the Bengaluru meeting.
Moreover, several committees are expected to be formed which will hold meetings to deliberate on various problems that may arise in the alliance. Various groups and sub-groups may also be formed, they said.
Sources said that a discussion may also be held on how to field a common opposition candidate on at least 80 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats against the BJP, how to have alliances in the states and how to distribute tickets at key constituencies.
“In the meeting, deliberations will also be held on Uniform Civil Code (UCC),” they added.
All bigwigs in the opposition, including former Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, along with Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the crucial opposition meeting in Bengaluru.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also confirmed its presence at the meeting on Sunday. This came after the Congress made its stand clear and said that it will oppose the Centre’s ordinance on administrative services in Delhi if a bill is brought to replace the ordinance in the Parliament.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to come for the opposition meeting as well despite her leg injury, following Sonia Gandhi’s call.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chowdhary who had earlier distanced himself from the Patna meeting is scheduled to attend the meeting in Bengaluru on Monday.
In addition to these, the Congress has invited 10 new parties to the second opposition meeting in Bengaluru to increase its tally over the NDA. These include Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi (KDMK), Forward Bloc, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Kerala Congress (Joseph), Kerala Congress (Mani), Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) and Tamil Nadu’s Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK).
“Congress, the main host of this two-day meet, is trying to make it look grander than that called by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna on June 13,” sources pointed out.
The first meeting for Opposition unity, convened by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was held on June 23 in Patna.(ANI)

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