Interestingly, Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav are on the same flight to Delhi

New Delhi:

With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls denying an absolute majority to BJP, NDA and INDIA partners will be holding key meetings today. Sources have, meanwhile, told NDTV that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take the oath of office for his third term on Saturday. 

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. As the numbers stack up, INDIA needs the support of both JDU and TDP, and a bunch of unaligned MPs, to clinch a majority. 

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, was on the same flight as INDIA ally and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as they fly to Delhi to attend separate meetings. Interestingly, one set of visuals showed Mr Yadav sitting right behind Mr Kumar. And then, another visual showed the RJD leader next to the JDU chief, sparking a buzz. 

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, DMK president MK Stalin and Trinamool Congress’s Abhishek Banerjee. 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.