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Giriraj Singh equals Opposition to Maoists, supporters of Osama; BJP leaders say NDA's unity won't be affected in 2019

Hitting out at the Opposition for uniting against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the 2019 general elections to Lok Sabha, BJP MP Giriraj Singh likened them to "Maoists, casteists, feudalists and supporters of Osama bin Laden" on Monday.

"Maoists, casteists, feudalists, and supporters of Osama bin Laden have all united against the NDA. But, floating on the uninterrupted river of progress, NDA's boat will surely cross the 2019 stage while moving at a steady rate," he said, in a tweet in Hindi.

Singh's comment came a day after BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted how the united Opposition and others like the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed were trying to stop Narendra Modi from becoming the prime minister in 2019. He later tweeted to clarify that his remark was not aimed at comparing the two. "Modi's attack on black money and corruption is getting the Opposition in India on one page while his attack on terrorism and the surgical strike is pushing Hafiz Saeed to desperation. This proves that the Modi government is moving the right way," Patra said.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, too, tweeted on similar lines. Singh's use of "NDA" and the sudden surge in tweets by BJP leaders predicting their win in 2019 comes against the backdrop of Shiv Sena saying that the saffron party does not need "friends and allies anymore". Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had recently made the remark while accusing the party of buying voters in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll.

An unofficial 'mahagathbandhan', or the grand coalition alliance, has been forged by the Opposition parties in the run-up to the 2019 election. In the recent Lok Sabha and state Assembly bypolls, held on 28 May, a united Opposition got a major boost as the BJP and its allies were limited to just three seats out of the total 15 that went to polls.

The talks of a united Opposition front began early in 2018. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar had convened a meeting of Opposition parties in January.

In March, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi held a dinner with Opposition leaders. At the time, there was a call for a non-BJP, non-Congress front as well following a proposal by TRS chief and Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for a national consultation process on the matter.

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also met several leaders like AAP's Arvind Kejriwal, Pawar, and Gandhi. Telugu Desam Party (TDP), after becoming the first major party to exit the NDA, also became involved in the discussions for a united Opposition.

During the swearing-in of JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy as Karnataka chief minister on 23 May, a host of Opposition leaders attended the ceremony in a rare public show of unity. The BJP had then observed a "black day" across Karnataka, with Patra dubbing the presence of the Opposition leaders as a "celebration of corruption".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 04, 2018 12:59 PM

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