Trinamool Plans Oppn CMs’ Conclave on Lines of NTR’s 1983 Meeting

Trinamool Plans Oppn CMs' Conclave on Lines of NTR's 1983 Meeting
Drawing parallels with NT Rama Rao’s Opposition conclave in 1983, the Trinamool Congress intends to call an Opposition Chief Ministers’ Conclave to take the opposition alliance forward in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

NT Rama Rao (NTR), former chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, had initiated a non-Congress Unified Front in 1983 by hosting a Conclave in Vijayawada on his birthday — May 28 — to chalk out a common strategy. Rao, who took the initiative in 1983 at the Vijayawada Conclave, marked the beginning of Opposition unity, which found its fruition in Prime Minister Viswanath Pratap Singh’s government, in 1989.

“We are planning to organise a conclave of opposition chief ministers with no prime ministerial face at present and unite against the anti-people policies of the BJP. The conclave will be a platform for negotiations, deliberations and discussions as during NT Rama Rao’s Vijayawada Conclave against the Congress in 1983. It was taken forward by Farooq Abdulla who organised a second such conclave in Kashmir. These were small steps taken but it took the united Opposition forward and led to the formation of the Viswanath Pratap Singh’s government,” Trinamool Congress’ national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told ET.

The NTR initiated effort in 1983 was followed by conclaves at Srinagar and Kolkata in 1984 and several meetings in New Delhi. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah were among the 24 leaders of 14 opposition parties who shared a common platform at Vijayawada with NT Rama Rao as the host.

“Every step the Opposition parties will take is a step towards the Lok Sabha polls and it will be done through consultations, combination of ideas and consensus of like-mined people,” Roy said.

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“Keeping an eye on the coming Lok Sabha polls, the Opposition parties will unite and strengthen themselves with various regional parties having dominance in a particular state or region — DMK in Tamil Nadu and KCR in Telangana. However, other like-minded and anti-BJP forces will also be included,” Roy told ET. “Some Opposition chief ministers are determined to initiate action to fight against the BJP to save democracy and the federal structure of the country. After the emergence of the BJP, the federal structure of the country is at stake. It is basic duty of the Centre to preserve it.”

Apart from the Conclave, the Trinamool plans to call its National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in New Delhi during the second phase of the budget session of Parliament in March. The party intends to stitch together an opposition alliance with anti-BJP opposition leaders through the conclave. Banerjee already set the ball rolling after initial discussions with MK Stalin and KCR, who in turn took the issue forward with Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackarey.

Roy slammed the governors of various Opposition-ruled states for “acting as the agents of the central government” and for interfering in the day-to-day activities of the state. “Regular interference of the Governor has been witnessed in Bengal in the regular affairs of the state. Unless we are united with our respective identities, centralisation of the executive will take place.”

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