Taking the next step towards constructing a more cohesive alliance, the Opposition parties are aiming to set up a common secretariat drawing representatives from each party, which will act as the strategic nerve centre to guide their campaign against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election. A formal name for the alliance is also likely to be announced after Tuesday’s meeting in Bengaluru.
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It is learnt that the Opposition parties in the meeting will come up with sub-committees for various subjects, including one for communication, another for deciding and coordinating joint action programmes such as rallies and agitation.
Another sub-committee will be formed for drafting a common minimum programme. Though several Opposition parties, citing the past incidents, have said that a common minimum programme, is an instrument for administration and is usually drafted after the results are in to guide the government of the day. But sources said that these objections were dismissed and instead it was felt that the parties should have a concrete programme to counter the BJP.
And an overall control to take care of the day-to-day working of the alliance will be through a common secretariat. “This is not the last meeting we have but we have to be quick-footed and it is not practical to bring in heads of all the Opposition parties for every decision,” a senior leader said.
The parties have a long day ahead on Tuesday. The meeting begins at 11. 00 a.m. and is expected to go on till 3.30 p.m. Apart from firming up the executing bodies, there will be the first round of discussions on seat-sharing. At its first meeting on June 23 in Patna, while the formula of a common candidate against the BJP on each Lok Sabha seat was tossed around, the details were not discussed. On this too there are varying views, while the Janata Dal (U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaks about putting up common candidates on 400 plus seats, the Congress has taken a more guarded view and sees a possibility of a tie-up on 150 or so seats across the country.
Sources also said that the parties want to have a candid debate on the question of Electronic Voting Machines, over which several Opposition parties have, from time to time, raised doubts about.