30 vs. 24: BJP-led alliance vs. opposition next week

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New Delhi, 16 July: Next week, India will see a high-voltage political battle, with both the ruling NDA and the opposition parties testing their muscles ahead of next year’s general elections.

While the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has announced a mega meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday, with nearly 30 parties expected to reaffirm their support for the alliance, 24 Opposition parties will also meet in Bengaluru on Monday and Tuesday to iron out their differences and present a united front against the BJP ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which begins on July 20.

The meeting of the NDA will be presided over by BJP President JP Nadda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Aside from its coalition partners, the BJP has invited other new and former allies to a meeting at Delhi’s Ashok Hotel.

Not all NDA parties are represented in Parliament. Four Bihar politicians have been invited: Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, Upendra Singh Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, and Mukesh Sahani of the Vikassheel Insaan Party.

Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a former Akhilesh Yadav ally, announced his re-joining of the NDA earlier today, and Dara Singh Chauhan, a Samajwadi Party MLA from Ghosi in Mau district, resigned from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and joined the BJP after meeting Home Minister Amit Shah.

Even after much conjecture, the Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu and the Shiromani Akali Dal led by the Badal family would not be members of the NDA.

According to sources, the BJP will not form an alliance with these parties. It intends to go it alone in Punjab and join forces with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party in Andhra Pradesh.

The NDA currently has 24 parties: the BJP, AIADMK, Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction), the NPP (National People’s Party), the NDPP (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party), the SKM (Sikkim Krantikari Morcha), the JJP (Jannayak Janata Party), the IMKMK (Indiya Makkal Kalvi Munnetra Kazhgam), the AJSU (All Jharkhand Students Union), RPI (Republic Party of India), MNF (Mizo National Front), TMC (Tamil Manila Congress), IPFT (Tripura), BPP (Bodo People’s party), PMK (Patali Makkal Kacchi), MGP (Mahasthravadi Gomantak Party), Apna Dal, AGP (Assam Gana Parishad), Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, Nishad Party, UPPL (United People’s Party Liberal), AIRNC (All India NR Congress Pudduchery), Shiromani Akali Dal Sayunkt (Dhindhsa), and Jana Sena (Pawan Kalyan).

The new additions to the ruling coalition would be the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party Ajit Pawar faction), Lok Jan Shakti Party (Ram Vilas), HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha), RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samta Party), VIP (Vikassheel Insaan Party), and SBSP (Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party Om Prakash Rajbhar).

After weeks of dithering, the Congress today came out in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign against the disputed federal decree that reclaimed control of Delhi’s bureaucracy, improving the odds of an opposition gathering scheduled for a day later.