Ram Gopal kept his point in meeting...": Manoj Jha
Referring to the rumours of Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav expressing reservations on BSP joining the INDIA bloc, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Kumar Jha on Tuesday said that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asserted that no one should pay heed to any kind of rumours.
"Ram Gopal ji said he had put his words. He kept his point. Now all these things are in the committee and among the leaders. It is for the committee to decide the inclination of people and the political parties and then decide on it, "Manoj Jha said apparently referring to Samajwadi Party's (SP) unwilling to be part of the bloc if BSP becomes a member of it.
When asked from RJD leader whether their concerns were heard, Manoj Jha said, "Yes they were heard and his point was understood and on that Kharge Sahab said that 'don't give weightage to rumours."
Dismissing speculations that the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar left the meeting in displeasure or angrily after Kharge's name was proposed by some for PM candidature, Manoj Jha clarified, "No one is upset with anyone."
Manoj Jha also revealed that during the meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee proposed Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's name for the Prime Ministerial candidacy. Kharge responded by emphasizing the importance of contesting the elections together.
"Mamata Banerjee proposed the name of Mallikarjun Kharge for candidature to the post of Prime Minister. Arvind Kejriwal supported Mamata's proposal. On the proposal, Mallikarjun Kharge said that fighting the elections together is the priority. After winning the elections there will be talks about the post of Prime Minister," Manoj Jha said.
"Have you heard Kharge ji has declined the offer in which manner. He, in a very humble words has described how imperative is for us to fight together," he said while responding to reporter.
Addressing the demand for the counting of all VVPAT slips, the RJD leader stated, "There is unanimous agreement among the INDIA bloc partners on the 100 pc counting of VVPATs."
Regarding the 'One on One' seat-sharing formula, where only one party from the alliance will field a candidate against the BJP in some or specific constituencies, Manoj Jha said, "A decision will be reached within a stipulated timeframe on the 'One on One' formula. The seat-sharing arrangement will be finalized after discussions at the state level".
"Everyone agreed that a decision on seat-sharing and mass contact should be made within three weeks... It was decided that we have to ensure a maximum 101 program... Thirdly, it was emphasised especially by Tejashwi Yadav, that PM Modi does pointless politics. We have to identify 5 issues to which the people can relate. Whether it is employment issues, pensions, health... I think the achievement of this meeting is that the issue should be decided, a mass contact program should be started, and seat sharing within three weeks at a state level should be ensured..," he added.
Discussing a potential INDIA bloc rally in Patna, the RJD leader remarked, "There may be a rally of the INDIA bloc on the 30th at Gandhi Maidan in Patna."
Kharge has turned down suggestion about being the prime ministerial candidate of the INDIA bloc for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and said the issue will be decided later and their first priority is to try and get majority by working together.
VCK parliamentarian Thol. Thirumavalavan told ANI that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal proposed that Kharge should be coordinator of the INDIA bloc and that he should be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha battle.
Kharge responded to the issue during an interaction with the media after the INDIA block meeting.
"First, all of us have to win, we should think about what needs to be done for victory. Who will be PM, this will be decided later. If there are less MPs, what is the point of talking about PM. First, to increase our numbers, (by) coming together, we will try to bring majority. First we will try to win," he said.
Kharge also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of arrogance after BJP won three of the five states where elections were held last month.
The VCK MP said that Kharge rejected the suggestion to be the prime ministerial face of the INDIA parties.
"Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal proposed that Mallikarjun Kharge must be the coordinator of this INDIA team and we will project him as the Prime Minister in the forthcoming elections. But Khargeji rejected this categorically. He said - no need for this suggestion, after the election only we can decide who is the PM. He immediately rejected this point," Thirumavalavan told ANI.
Speaking about the important issues on which the INDIA bloc will be contesting the polls, Jha said, "INDIA bloc will contest elections on important issues like unemployment, health, Gandhi's ideals, permanent house, old pension scheme."
The fourth meeting of the 'Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc took place in the national capital.
The meeting comes amid the political tensions escalating between the Opposition and the BJP-led central government over the demand of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement over the Parliament security breach. An unprecedented number of MPs, a total of 141, were suspended from Parliament.
The alliance, led by the Congress, took shape with the primary objective of mounting a combined challenge to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in next year's general elections.
The first meeting of the joint opposition convened in Patna on June 23 and the second meeting was held in Bengaluru on July 17-18. The third meeting happened in Mumbai on August 31-September 1. (ANI)