New Delhi: The united opposition front, consisting of 26 participating parties at a crucial meeting in Bengaluru, has decided to be known as I-N-D-I-A, which stands for the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance. This sets the stage for what Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called a “Modi versus I.N.D.I.A” battle in the 2024 general elections.
“We are defending the Constitution, the voice of Indians, and the idea of India. You know what happens to anyone who wants to fight the idea of India… The fight is between NDA and I.N.D.I.A, Narendra Modi and I.N.D.I.A, his ideology and I.N.D.I.A. India always wins all fights,” stated Mr. Gandhi. “The fight is about two different ideas of India… The voice of the country is being stifled. The fight is for the voice of the country. So this name was chosen — I.N.D.I.A,” he added.
The BJP, which is currently gathering its allies in Delhi, dismissed the united opposition’s new name. Amit Malviya of the BJP drew a parallel with the banned organization SIMI, stating that changing the UPA is merely regrouping under another name.
“In 2024, the country will elect Prime Minister Modi, the leader… The future of our country is too precious to be risked with one of the self-serving, corrupt, dynastic parties. It is apparent that they have come together to save their shrinking turfs, not serve the people,” read his tweet.
The name for the united opposition was decided upon after extensive deliberation on the second day of the mega meeting. Sources revealed that the Left parties wanted to change the word “Alliance” to “Front,” while some parties were not enthusiastic about including “NDA” in the name. Shiv Sena UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray pushed for a name that would not mention the opposition.
It was Mr. Gandhi who ultimately proposed the acronym, as tweeted by Jitendra Ahwad of the Nationalist Congress Party. “His creativity was greatly appreciated,” the tweet stated.
“Chak de India,” read a jubilant tweet from Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien shortly after the name was decided upon. “NDA, can you challenge INDIA? BJP, can you challenge INDIA?” questioned Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge stated, “The BJP wants to destroy democracy and the Constitution, using autonomous bodies like CBI, ED, vigilance, and other such institutions against opposition party leaders and workers. This is a grave situation. We have come together to address this situation. Our focus is on how to save the country and its people.”
When asked about who will lead the alliance, Mr. Kharge said, “We are forming a coordination committee of 11 members. At the meeting in Mumbai, we will decide on the composition of the committee and the convenor. These are minor details.”
During her remarks at the press conference, Mamata Banerjee, while acknowledging all the leaders present, referred to Rahul Gandhi as “our favorite.” She described today’s meeting as “very good, constructive, and fruitful.” The next meeting in Mumbai will also focus on establishing a Common Minimum Programme, she added.
The opposition meeting coincided with the NDA meeting in Delhi, where the BJP has gathered 38 parties in a grand show of strength.
Regarding the Delhi meeting, Mr. Kharge claimed that the BJP is running scared. “Previously, they (the BJP) never cared. They never spoke… They were in pieces… Now the PM is trying to put them together. It shows he is afraid of the opposition,” Mr. Kharge said.