After INDIA Meet, Mallikarjun Kharge's 'Right Step At Right Time' Promise

New Delhi:

The Opposition INDIA bloc, for now, will sit in the opposition benches, even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP are “subverting the will of the people,” Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said today. But there was a caveat. “The INDIA bloc will continue to resist the fascist rule… We will take appropriate steps at the appropriate time to realise the people’s desire not to be ruled by the BJP,” he added, reading out a statement adopted by all the alliance partners after a strategy session at his Delhi residence.

The thinly veiled reference was to the Opposition’s initial idea of prising away Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Telugu Desam Party chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-elect Chandrababu Naidu.

But the two erstwhile allies signed up the NDA earlier today with formal letters of support, pouring cold water on the Opposition’s hopes of a realignment that would put the INDIA bloc on the driver’s seat.

Yesterday, sources said the INDIA bloc could send feelers to erstwhile allies Mr Kumar and Mr Naidu, and explore options. Mr Naidu was earlier part of the Opposition and Mr Kumar has a acquired a reputation of sorts for his frequent flip flops.

The matter was initially made public by INDIA ally Uddhav Thackeray. But Mr Kharge had been circumspect, saying they would consult allies to decide the way forward.

This evening, at the beginning of the INDIA bloc strategy session held at his home, Mr Kharge issued an open invitation.

“The INDIA alliance welcomes all parties which share its fundamental commitment to the values enshrined in the Preamble to our Constitution and to its many provisions for economic, social and political justice,” the Congress chief said.

The Opposition, riding a high that came after a decade, has demanded the resignation of PM Modi, declaring that the results of the Lok Sabha Elections made it clear that the people want him to go.

“The mandate is decisively against Mr Modi, against him and the substance and style of his politics. It is a huge political loss for him personally apart from being a clear moral defeat as well. However, he is determined to subvert the will of the people,” Mr Kharge said, Sonia Gandhi at his side.

The BJP won 240 seats and 293 with its allies — 28 of them are contributions of Mr Kumar and Mr Naidu, who is also the Chief Minister-elect of Andhra Pradesh with a spectacular comeback under his belt. The INDIA bloc has 232 seats, 99 from Congress alone.