DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin with opposition leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Farooq Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and DMK senior leaders at a public meeting as part of TN CM 's 70th Bithrday celebrations, in Chennai, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Photo: PTI
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday requested all political parties opposed to the BJP to understand simple electoral arithmetic logic and stand united, emphasising that thoughts about a third front are pointless.
Stalin was addressing a DMK event organised here on his 70th birthday.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief said that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are not about who wins but about who should be defeated.
"It is not just the stage of my birthday celebrations. It is also the beginning of a huge political stage in India. I thank Mallikarjun Kharge for the best birthday present, by creating a common platform. 2024 elections not about who wins, it's about who should be defeated," said CM Stalin.
He said that political parties should rise above differences and stand together as a united force to defeat the BJP in the upcoming Parliament election.
"Thoughts about a third front are pointless. I humbly request all political parties, opposed to BJP, to understand simple electoral arithmetic logic and stand united," he added.
Meanwhile, pitching for opposition unity to take on the BJP-led government in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said that he had never said "who will lead or who will become PM" and that the party is keen that like-minded parties should fight together.
"All like-minded opposition parties should come together against the divisive forces. I never said who will lead or who will become PM. It's not the question. We want to fight together unitedly, this is our desire," Kharge said at an event to mark the 70th birthday celebrations of DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.
Kharge's remarks are significant as there are apparent differences among the opposition parties over the prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 battle.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who led the Bharat Jodo Yatra, has also been ambivalent on the question.
Kharge said the Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu has been successful and the two parties should lead "the foundation for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls victory".
"Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu led to Lok Sabha victories in 2004, 2009 and assembly victories in 2006 and 2021. We should continue to strengthen our alliance and lead foundation for the 2024 Lok Sabha victory for the UPA alliance," he said. DMK has been a key ally of Congress.
In his remarks, Kharge also attacked the Modi government.
"More than 23 crore people have been pushed below the poverty line because of the failures of the BJP government. The common man is hit by inflation, youth are hit by unemployment but BJP is interested in polarising the society to win elections," he alleged.
During a rally in Nagaland which went to the polls on February 27, Kharge had said that an alliance government will come to power at the Centre in 2024 and the Congress will lead such an alliance.
In the political resolution adopted by Congress at its Plenary earlier this month, the party said that the assembly elections this year in nine states and 2024 Lok Sabha polls were "crucial for India's future" and there is an urgent need for united opposition to take on the BJP-led NDA government on ideological grounds.
It said the Congress would go all out to "identify, mobilise and align like-minded secular forces."
The resolution said the emergence of any third force will provide an advantage to the BJP.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also pitched for opposition unity and asked all the leaders to wake up, unite and build a nation where all of us can live in honour, dignity and peace.
"I demand from him (MK Stalin) and all the leaders to wake up, unite and build a nation where all of us can live in honour and dignity and peace. It's the people of India that make the nation strong. It's not Army, Navy & Air Force. Let us get together and work in harmony," said Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah further said that India is in a difficult situation and the democracy as well as Constitution are being threatened.
He asked Stalin to come to the national scene and requested Kharge to forget who is going to become the PM.
"Stalin, it's time to come to the national scene and build the nation as you've built this state. To (Mallikarjun) Kharge Ji, I will say, let's forget who's going to become the PM. Let's first win elections, then think about who will become PM. PM doesn't matter, nation matters," he added.