The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is trying to emerge as a key Opposition force after it was overlooked by the Congress for its January 30 closing ceremony of the Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) in Srinagar even as the grand old party has extended invitation to 21 parties to attend the programme.
The BRS is set to hold its first public meeting on January 18 in Khammam in which Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is likely to unveil the party’s national agenda.
Rao has extended invitations to regional parties and those who skipped the Congress’ BJY for the Khammam meet.
KCR, as the Telangana Chief Minister is popularly known, has invited leaders of “friendly parties” including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and ex-Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy who were present at the inauguration of the BRS national office in Delhi on December 14 have also been invited to address the public meeting.
In a bid to highlight the Opposition unity, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday invited 21 opposition parties to attend the concluding day of the BJY in Srinagar.
However, the Congress till now has not invited the Aam Aadmi Party, TRS (BRS), AIMIM and the AIUDF.
The invites have been sent to 21 parties including Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal-United, Shiv Sena-UBT, Telugu Desam Party, National Conference, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Peoples Democratic Party.
However, there is a doubt in the Congress camp over the joining of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal leaders as they had skipped the BJY.
While there are mixed reactions from Trinamool Congress, party leader Shatrughan Sinha has recently praised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who is leading the BJY.
The Congress which is pitted against the CPI-M in Kerala is likely to forge an alliance with the party in Tripura. However, a question mark still remains over the Left party joining the closing ceremony in Srinagar.
“India faces an economic, social and political crisis. At this time, when the Opposition’s voice is being suppressed in the Parliament and the media, the Yatra is connecting directly with lakhs of people. We have discussed the grave issues affecting our nation such as inflation, unemployment, social divisions, weakening of democratic institutions and the threat on our borders,” Kharge wrote.
He said all sections of society have also participated and shared their problems.
The Congress chief said that youth, women and elderly; farmers, labourers, small businessmen and industrialists; Dalits, Adivasis, and linguistic and religious minorities; activists, artists and spiritual leaders have also participated.