On 22 December, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) bloc has announced a nationwide protest against the recent suspension of at least 141 opposition MPs from Parliament, said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on 19 December.
The Congress president came down heavily on prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, following the fourth meeting of the I.N.D.I.A bloc, which includes 28 parties. He termed the suspension of 141 MPs as “undemocratic”.
Kharge called on the home minister and the prime minister to address members in both Houses of Parliament, while saying that the issue raised by the opposition was legitimate. “There will be protests across the country on December 22 against the suspension of opposition MPs from the House. We will fight and stand firm”.
Kharge said, “They can speak outside but not in Parliament.” He also expressed his dissatisfaction over Modi’s reluctance to engage in Parliamentary dialogue.
Additionally, Kharge said that seat sharing across parties of the I.N.D.I.A bloc would be initially discussed at the state level. If after that, disagreements persisted, central leaders would intervene to facilitate resolution.
While highlighting the unity among the parties in the alliance, Kharge stated that everyone was in agreement regarding the joint programmes that are being planned. He added that the alliance plans to conduct 8-10 more meetings to further solidify its strategy.
This meeting comes a day after the I.N.D.I.A bloc lost one-third of its Lok Sabha strength on 18 December and almost half its strength in the Rajya Sabha. On Tuesday, 19 December, another 49 opposition MPs were suspended from the Lok Sabha, bringing the total number of those suspended across both Houses to 141.
The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A., Bhāratīya Rāṣhṭrīya Vikāsātmaka Samāveśhī Gaṭhabandhan) is a big tent political alliance of 28 political parties in India led by the Indian National Congress. The primary objective of the alliance is to defeat the ruling National Democratic Alliance government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Indian general elections.
The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, commonly known by its backronym I.N.D.I.A., is an opposition front announced by the leaders of 28 parties to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The name was proposed during a meeting in Bengaluru and was unanimously adopted by the 28 participating parties. While some sources attribute the suggestion of the name to Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress (INC), others mention that it was suggested by Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and chief minister of West Bengal.
1st Meeting: Patna, Bihar: Coordination for unity
The first Opposition parties’ meeting held in Patna, Bihar was chaired by Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar on 23 June 2023, when the proposal for a new alliance was put on the table. The meet was attended by 16 Opposition parties.
2nd Meeting: Bengaluru, Karnataka: Formal formation
The second Opposition parties’ meeting was held in Bengaluru, Karnataka on 17 & 18 July 2023. It was chaired by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi when the proposal for an alliance was accepted and ten more parties were added to the list. The alliance’s name was finalized and given the name Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance. At this meeting, it was announced that the third meeting will be held in the city of Mumbai.
3rd Meeting: Mumbai, Maharashtra: Preliminary plans
The third Opposition parties meeting was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra from 31 August to 1 September 2023. The meeting was hosted by Shiv Sena (UBT) president, Uddhav Thackeray and saw Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and chief ministers of 5 states in attendance. Over the two-day deliberations, the alliance discussed major electoral issues for the upcoming general elections, carved out the coordination committee, and passed a three point resolution to fight 2024 Indian general elections together ‘as far as possible’.