Citing unavailability of party chiefs, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has postponed the opposition unity meeting scheduled for June 12 in Patna.
Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of an event, Kumar said a new date will be decided soon.
“The opposition meeting to be held on June 12 has been postponed. Heads of all political parties were supposed to come to the meeting, and it would not be right if any other representative came. So, we’ve asked Congress party that the head of the party should come. The new date of the meeting will be announced later,” Kumar said.
“We have received consent of almost all people for the proposed June 12 meeting for opposition unity. But now it has been deferred”, Kumar added.
Due to prior engagements of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi along with Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin were unable to mark their presence for the June 12 meeting.
Reacting to the development, a Janata Dal (United) (JDU) leader, on condition of anonymity said, “The non-participation of the two top Congress leaders would have sent a wrong message and given the BJP an opportunity to mock us.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand, mocked the postponement.
“The opposition unity move has been punctured even before it could take off,” said BJP spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel.
Defending the move, both JDU and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said the meeting will happen at a later date.
“The BJP need not be too happy. It will take place with full strength,” said JD(U) spokesperson Anjum Ara while RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary said that BJP was worried about the meeting.
Kumar has been at the forefront for the past few months in forging out a union of Opposition parties in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He has been speaking to several regional satraps besides the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the Left.
Of late, he has held separate meetings with leaders of many parties, including Gandhi and Kharge of the Congress, Delhi chief minister and AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee along with Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sharad Pawar.
West Bengal CM as well as NCP, top Shiv Sena leaders including Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray had given their consent to attend the June 12 meeting.
Calling it a futile exercise, the opposition BJP has been constantly attacking the ruling Grand Alliance and CM Kumar on the meeting.
“The bubble of larger opposition unity had been pricked by their own leaders,” BJP MLC and former minister Mangal Pandey said.