"The so called secular parties did not call us," Asaduddin Owaisi's party said on the opposition meet
Lashing out at the 26 like-minded parties for not inviting All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the two-day opposition meeting concluded in Bengaluru on Tuesday, party leader Waris Pathan said that the "so called" secular parties are treating them as "political untouchables".
The AIMIM national spokesperson also questioned how can someone ignore Asaduddin Owaisi's party.
"The so called secular parties did not call us, we are political untouchables for them. There are leaders who were once with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray and Mehbooba Mufti. We saw Arvind Kejriwal abusing Congress during the Gujarat Assembly elections, but even he is sitting in Bengaluru. Even we (AIMIM) are putting efforts to defeat BJP in 2024, but they (Opposition parties) are ignoring Asaduddin Owaisi and our party," he said.
The two-day joint meeting came to an end on Tuesday with the 26 parties agreeing to come up under one name - Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA
On Tuesday, while addressing the media after the meeting, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Earlier, we were UPA and now all the 26 parties have given a name to the opposition and that is - Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). Everybody has agreed upon this, and the resolution for the name was passed unanimously."
The development came as top leaders of 26 Opposition parties from across the country met in Bengaluru on Tuesday to discuss a united strategy to take on the ruling NDA alliance at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan said that the name was proposed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"The name of the opposition alliance - INDIA was proposed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After a long discussion, it was decided to be called as 'Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance," VCK chief told ANI.
On the other hand, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said that Rahul Gandhi justified why it should be INDIA during the discussion in the meeting.
"It is a collective effort. We all sat together, and we all decided on names. Rahul ji spearheaded this, he justified why it should be INDIA he argued for it," Srinate told ANI.
The representatives of the 26 parties - 10 more than the 16 parties which had met in Patna on June 23 - also decided to set up an 11-member coordination committee, including all the major parties, and a 'secretariat' in Delhi for campaign management and for coordinating the working of various sub-committees, which will take up specific issues.
"The next opposition meeting will be held in Mumbai; the date will be announced soon. An 11-member coordination committee will be set up. Names of committee members will be announced in Mumbai," Mr Kharge said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the Lok Sabha elections next year a fight between INDIA and PM Modi.
"This fight is not between 2 political formations but the fight is to defend the idea of India. If you will see history, you will find that nobody has been able to fight the idea of India. It's a fight between the idea of India and Narendra Modi," Mr Gandhi said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while warning the ruling party at the centre said, "NDA, BJP, can you challenge INDIA?"
"We love our motherland. We are the patriotic people of the country. We are for the country, the world, farmers, for all," she said, adding that people -- Hindus, Dalits, minorities, farmers, in Bengal, and Manipur - are under threat from the BJP, whose only job is "buying and selling governments".
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, while addressing the press conference said that the leaders of the like-minded parties came to Karnataka's Bengaluru to save the country from "hatred".
"In the last 9 years, PM Modi could have done a lot of things but he destroyed all the sectors. We have gathered here not for ourselves but to save the country from hatred..." Arvind Kejriwal said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)