Nitish Kumar reportedly questioned how an opposition alliance could be named INDIA
As the name INDIA was discussed for the opposition front at the Bengaluru conclave on Tuesday, one leader who needed some convincing was Nitish Kumar.
After the meeting, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced that the alliance of opposition parties planning a joint strategy to take on the ruling BJP in 2024 would be called "INDIA" - an acronym for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.
During the discussions, Nitish Kumar reportedly questioned how an opposition alliance could be named INDIA. He also expressed reservations about an acronym with the letters 'NDA' in it and about both names sounding similar. Someone pointed out to him that there was an "I" in the NDA.
The Bihar Chief Minister had suggested names like - India Main Front and India Main Alliance.
Left leaders were also reportedly hesitant and suggested different alternatives like "Save India Alliance" and "We for India". As most parties seemed to approve of INDIA, Nitish Kumar reportedly acquiesced.
"All right, if all of you are okay with it (the name INDIA), then it is fine," the Bihar Chief Minister said.
There was also some discussion on "Democratic" in the acronym sounding similar to the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). To keep the two names more different, the Congress suggested that the "D" in INDIA should be - "Developmental".
The BJP mocked the opposition over the confusion between "Democratic" and "Developmental" in the versions of different leaders.
Reports attributed the name INDIA to Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan said Mamata Banerjee suggested the name.
"The name of the opposition alliance- INDIA - was proposed by Mamata Banerjee. After a long discussion, it was decided that it should be called Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance," he said.
NCP leader Jitendra Awhad, on the other hand, posted that it was Rahul Gandhi's idea. "In the ongoing meeting of opposition parties in Bangalore, Rahul Gandhi put forward a proposal to name this alliance as INDIA. His creativity was greatly appreciated. All the parties approved it and decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections under the name INDIA."
Rahul Gandhi reportedly did suggest the name but it was decided that Mamata Banerjee should formally propose it. The Bengal Chief Minister, speaking about the name during the press briefing, referred to "Our favourite Rahul Gandhi".
As the BJP attacked the name, also pitting "INDIA" against "Bharat", the opposition front today announced its tagline - Jeetega Bharat (India will win).
The tagline was decided in detailed consultations late last night. Uddhav Thackeray reportedly suggested that the alliance should have a Hindi tagline.
The next opposition meeting will be held in Mumbai, and will be hosted by Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena faction.
The leaders of 26 opposition parties also discussed who could be the face of the coalition. This and other aspects will be decided by an 11-member coordination committee, including all the major parties. The Congress also said a 'secretariat' would be set up in Delhi for campaign management.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi suggested that Nitish Kumar left Bengaluru early, without attending the press briefing, because he was "upset" at not being named Convener of the new coalition.
Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) slammed the comment, saying the Chief Minister left early to catch his flight.