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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

26 Indian parties unite to challenge Prime Minister Modi in next elections

Foundational pillars of Constitution being 'methodically and menacingly undermined,' says joint statement

More than two dozen opposition parties in India have formed an alliance to challenge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 general elections.

It is a great achievement for us that all 26 like-minded parties have come together, Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the main opposition Congress party announced on Tuesday in the southern Bengaluru city, where the meeting was held.

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The alliance has been named INDIA an acronym for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, he said, adding that the next meeting will be held in the country’s financial capital Mumbai.

Kharge said the parties have “gathered to save our Democracy and the Constitution.”

“This is a collective fight against unemployment, inflation and other key issues that the country is dealing with,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who heads the All India Trinamool Congress party, said Dalits (lower caste Hindus) and minorities are under threat in the country. “BJP, can you challenge INDIA?” she asked.

A joint statement released by the parties expressed “steadfast resolve to safeguard the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution.”

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“The character of our republic is being severely assaulted in a systematic manner by the BJP. We are at a most crucial juncture in our nation’s history,” it said. “The foundational pillars of the Indian Constitution – secular democracy, economic sovereignty, social justice and federalism – are being methodically and menacingly undermined.”

In a sign of heightened political activity, the ruling National Democratic Alliance led by BJP is also holding a meeting in the national capital New Delhi on Tuesday.

General elections in the country will be held next year.

In 2019, BJP won more than 300 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament.