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What’s in the name? A lot, feel INDIA allies except Nitish

On Tuesday, the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) was formed after 26 Opposition parties met in Bengaluru to discuss the future and strategy to defeat the ruling Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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According to a report by NDTV, Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar reportedly questioned how an Opposition allaince could be named INDIA. He had suggested names like – India Main Front & India Main Alliance.

Expressing displeasure over the acronym having the letters ‘NDA’ in it and how both names sound similar, someone pointed out ‘that there was an ‘I’ in the name’. Apart from Nitish, Left leaders were hesitant to accept the new name. They favoured “Save India Alliance” and “We for India”.

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However, a majority of leaders voted for INDIA and Nitish had to take a step back. “All right, if all of you are okay with it (the name INDIA), then it is fine,” he reportedly said.

But news of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Nitish Kumar disapproving of the alliance name soon spread, questioning the unity amongst the Opposition parties.

Nitish Kumar is ‘Sutradhaar’: Lalan Singh

Reacting to the news, JDU party president Lalan Singh told reporters all is well and Nitish Kumar is the Sutradhaar (facilitator) of the Opposition unity.

“Nitish Kumar is the Sutradhaar (facilitator) of opposition unity. And a Sutradhaar never gets angry,” he said.

In response to the reports that Kumar was unhappy with the acronym ‘INDIA’ and started sulking over not being made convener of the new coalition, Lalan said it was ‘dushprachar‘ (canard) of the BJP-led NDA.

“This is all dushprachar and rumour mongering on the part of the NDA. The name INDIA bore the stamp of approval from all leaders present at the opposition meet”, said Lalan.

About the speculations around Nitish Kumar being made the convener, the JD(U) chief said, “This was not on the agenda of yesterday’s meeting. It may be thought about when the next meeting takes place in Mumbai.”

‘NDA meet is signs of desperation’

Lalan also claimed that the NDA meeting called by the PM in Delhi on Wednesday was indicative of “desperation”.

He also hit out at the BJP for claiming that more than 30 parties were now part of the NDA, saying, “Over a dozen such political outfits are from the north-east. The entire region accounts for only 23 Lok Sabha seats.”

Asked about the PM’s jibe at many opposition leaders facing charges of corruption, Lalan said, “He should revisit his own past. Whom did he lash out at upon returning from Maharashtra and where are those people today?”

The allusion was to Modi’s speech in Bhopal, where he had accused NCP chief Sharad Pawar, among others, of nepotism and corruption.

While Pawar is in the Opposition camp, his nephew Ajit Pawar recently broke away and became the deputy CM of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. The splinter group includes others who have been either named in corruption cases or accused of graft by the BJP in the past.

The next opposition meeting will be hosted by Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction in Mumbai.

(With inputs from PTI)

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