A week before Opposition parties were to meet in Patna on June 12, the anti-BJP conclave was rescheduled. The meeting is now likely to be held on June 23.
The proposal to postpone the meeting came amidst reports that neither Congress leader Rahul Gandhi nor party president Mallikarjun Kharge will be able to make it for the June 12 meeting. Some other Opposition leaders like Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury were also finding the date inconvenient because of other official commitments. Gandhi is away in the US, and is expected to return by June 18. Opposition sources said these leaders may be able to attend the meeting if it is held after June 18.
The June 12 meeting, which was to be a show of strength against the Narendra Modi government and the BJP in the run-up to 2024 Lok Sabha elections, could have run the risk of several top leaders being conspicuous by their absence. An Opposition leader said a proposal to shift the venue to some other place like Shimla was also being mulled.
The meeting, to be presided over by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, was expected to be attended by major opposition parties, barring Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, K Chandrashekar Rao’s BRS in Telangana and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh. Among the prominent leaders who were to attend the meet are West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren.
The decision on the June 12 meeting was taken soon after the Prime Minister’s inauguration of the new Parliament House complex was boycotted by around 20 opposition parties, saying president Droupadi Murmu should have presided over the function.