As NDA, INDIA Plan Next Move, Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav On Same Flight

With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls denying a two-third majority to BJP, NDA and INDIA partners will be holding key meetings today as they try to cobble together numbers required to form the government.

The BJP-led NDA bagged 294 seats in the 543-member Parliament — 22 more than the magic figure of 272. The INDIA Opposition bloc finished with 234 — 38 less than the majority mark. Two NDA allies, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu and JDU’s Nitish Kumar, hold the key to the doors to power. While the two contested the general election in an alliance with the BJP, INDIA leaders are learnt to have reached out to coalition-era veterans to woo them into the Opposition bloc.

The day after the results, leaders of both NDA and INDIA alliances are flying to Delhi to hold discussions on the way forward. Interestingly, Nitish Kumar, known for his record of political flip-flops, will be on the same flight as INDIA ally and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. Both Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav, his former ally, will be on the same plane when they travel to Delhi to attend separate meetings.

Nitish Kumar’s close aide and JDU leader KC Tyagi told news agency ANI yesterday that the party will stay in NDA and rejected any speculation of a switch to INDIA bloc. The other kingmaker, Mr Naidu, congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on NDA’s stunning show in Andhra Pradesh and said TDP and BJP will rebuild the state together.

What must, however, be kept in mind that both these leaders have been strongly critical of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP in the past. In fact, Nitish Kumar led the discussions for forging an Opposition front to take on the BJP before his last-minute switch.

Among the INDIA leaders flying to the national capital for the key meeting are Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and DMK president MK Stalin. Left leaders will also be present at the meeting.

As for NDA, Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu are flying in. So are Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Hindustam Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, LJP leader Chirag Paswan and JDS’s HD Kumaraswamy.