(MENAFN- IANS) By Ajay Kumar
Patna, March 19 (IANS) Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, there is a question about who will be the challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The opposition leaders in Bihar have a clear stand on it. They are claiming that the face is not important, it is the issues that will matter.
In different phases, the BJP leaders were trying to set narratives depending on the popularity of a particular leader. They sometimes go for Rahul Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, K Chandrashekher Rao or Mamata Benerjee but such ploys are looking to be influencing the opposition parties.
Neeraj Kumar, JD-U MLC and chief spokesperson of the party said: 'Bihar set an example of opposition unity last year after forming the seven-party government. Our alliance is strong and the government is running smoothly under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.'
'We firmly believe that opposition unity cannot be possible without the Congress. Our leader Nitish Kumar has said repeatedly from public platforms that the Congress should take the initiative as quickly as possible and Salman Khurshid, the senior Congress leader, also agreed with the views of Nitish Kumar. It is true that the Congress party is delaying taking the initiative for opposition unity and we are losing precious time,' Kumar said.
Abhishek Kumar Jha, another JD-U leader and spokesperson said: 'We do not bother what the BJP is thinking or setting the narrative. We firmly believe that the issues are more important than the face. The opposition parties in Bihar are united and they are setting examples for other opposition parties.'
'We have to remember the 2004 Lok Sabha election when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government's term got over and the BJP went for India Shining and Bharat Uday, and Dr Manmohan Singh became the prime minister of the country for the next 10 years. At that time, people voted on issues and they will do the same this time too.'
Madan Mohan Jha, MLC and former state president of the party, told IANS: 'The Congress firmly believes in opposition unity. We have shown on every issue where the BJP targeted the opposition parties through constitutional agencies. Recently, the CBI and the ED raided RJD leaders and our senior leaders strongly condemned it.'
'We are raising public related issues with other opposition parties of the country. We are part of the government in Bihar and there is no issue with our coalition partners.
'The BJP leaders are sensing that the opposition is united this time, hence they deliberately spread rumours to create confusion. The BJP leaders are looking uncomfortable as the situation is in favour of the opposition parties.'
Jha added: 'Our leader Rahul Gandhi completed a Padyatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and got huge public support. It has deeply disturbed the comfort level of BJP leaders. We have a direct equation with the common people of the country and we are raising their points.
'Why is the BJP brushing real issues like unemployment, price rise of every good, selling government institutions like railways, airports, ports, Navratna companies to the private players and others under the carpet. Why is the BJP silent on Adani? Why are they not saying anything about fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi, Rafale deal?'
Countering Jha, Nikhil Anand, national general secretary of the BJP OBC wing and state party spokesperson, said: 'The BJP is working hard to solve and address all the issues of mass concern. The Narendra Modi government is very particular about solving all the problems afflicting India and Indians. During the global economic slowdown India has continuously progressed and performed, courtesy PM Modi's vision.'
Anand added: 'The opposition has constantly failed to play a constructive political role. They have failed on the unity front and common leadership front. Now in sheer desperation to take on the BJP and Narendra Modi ji, they are propagating and endorsing anti-India, anti-Hindu, casteist notions as well as propaganda borrowed from interest groups abroad.
'Rahul Gandhi should first make himself acceptable in the Congress party then think of being acceptable to all the opposition parties. Can Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav and others afford to raise the slogan of Rahul Gandhi and stand behind him holding Congress flags to make him the PM candidate?'
Anand declared confidently: 'Narendra Modi ji has taken this country to greater heights. India's global positioning has been strengthened to the level of leading G20 like groups. Not only the BJP but the people of this country are realising and feeling the pride of New India under PM Modi; and besides all the confusion and chaos created by the opposition parties, Narendra Modi ji will again be the PM of India in 2024, there is no doubt about it.'