Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray among political heavyweights to attend INLD rally

The coming together of so many regional satraps in the Indian National Lok Dal's rally in Haryana is being seen as an effort toward opposition unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray among political heavyweights to attend INLD rally

New Delhi: A bevy of opposition leaders, including NCP's Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray and DMK's Kanimozhi, will be attending the Indian National Lok Dal's rally in Haryana's Fatehabad on September 25. JD(U) chief spokesperson K C Tyagi said RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury and BJP leader Birender Singh have also given their consent to attend the rally to mark the birth anniversary of former deputy prime minister and INLD founder Devi Lal.

The coming together of so many regional satraps is being seen as an effort towards opposition unity, and Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad are also likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the rally to take the process forward.

"It will be a historic meeting that will mark the consolidation of like-minded forces against the ruling BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," Tyagi said.

The presence of so many opposition leaders, all heavyweights in their states, on one platform will be a fillip to the efforts for unity among the non-BJP forces.

Birender Singh's equation with the BJP leadership has soured for some time even though his son Brijendra Singh is a Lok Sabha member of the party from Hisar.

Tyagi, a veteran socialist leader, has been working actively to ensure the participation of most opposition leaders in what is being seen as a show of strength by the INLD, which is itself fighting for survival in Haryana following a split in its ranks after its patriarch Om Prakash Chautala's elder son Ajay Chautala formed Jannayak Janata Party, a BJP ally. The JJP had managed to secure most of the traditional INLD votes in the last assembly polls.

Lok Sabha member and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party's Hanuman Beniwal, a former BJP ally from Rajasthan, will also attend the rally besides former Haryana minister Venod Sharma, he said.

INLD leader and former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala has also sent invitations to several other regional bigwigs, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, and TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, for attending the public meeting. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has also been invited.

Nitish Kumar has been stressing on the need for such unity among the non-BJP parties, including the Congress, since he broke ties with the saffron party last month and came to Delhi to hold talks with a number of key leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Pawar and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal.

Though, the absence of the Congress, which has been a staunch adversary of the INLD in Haryana, and some regional bigwigs like Banerjee and Rao yet to confirm their participation also means that a grand opposition unity remains a work in progress.

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