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The Bengaluru conclave, a recent gathering of opposition parties, sparked a discussion on the alliance’s name. While most leaders were in favor of the acronym “I.N.D.I.A” representing the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, needed some persuasion.

During the meeting, Nitish Kumar expressed concerns about naming the opposition alliance INDIA. He pointed out the similarity between the acronym and the ruling party’s name, NDA (National Democratic Alliance). The presence of an “I” in NDA was highlighted to clarify the distinction.

Nitish Kumar proposed alternative names such as “India Main Front” and “India Main Alliance.” Left leaders were hesitant and suggested alternatives like “Save India Alliance” and “We for India.” However, as most parties favored the name INDIA, Nitish Kumar eventually agreed, saying, “All right, if all of you are okay with it (the name INDIA), then it is fine.”

Further discussions arose regarding the similarity between “Democratic” in the acronym and the NDA. To ensure clearer differentiation, the Congress proposed changing the “D” in INDIA to “Developmental.”

The BJP seized the opportunity to ridicule the opposition, emphasizing the confusion between “Democratic” and “Developmental” in different leaders’ versions.

Reports attributed the name INDIA to Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi. Thol Thirumavalavan, the chief of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, confirmed that Mamata Banerjee had proposed the name. He stated, “Mamata Banerjee proposed the name of the opposition alliance – INDIA. After extensive discussions, it was decided to call it the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.”

On the other hand, NCP leader Jitendra Awhad claimed that Rahul Gandhi had suggested the name. “During the ongoing meeting of opposition parties in Bangalore, Rahul Gandhi proposed the name INDIA. His creativity was highly appreciated. All the parties approved it, and it was decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections under the name INDIA.”

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Although Rahul Gandhi reportedly suggested the name, it was decided that Mamata Banerjee would formally propose it. During the press briefing, Mamata Banerjee affectionately referred to Rahul Gandhi as “Our favourite Rahul Gandhi” when discussing the name.

As the BJP criticized the name and pitted “INDIA” against “Bharat,” the opposition front unveiled its tagline – “Jeetega Bharat” (India will win). The tagline was chosen after extensive consultations, and Uddhav Thackeray suggested that it should be in Hindi.

The next meeting of the opposition will be held in Mumbai and hosted by Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction. The leaders of 26 opposition parties also discussed potential faces for the coalition, which will be determined by an 11-member coordination committee comprising major parties. The Congress announced the establishment of a campaign management “secretariat” in Delhi.

In response to the events, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi suggested that Nitish Kumar left Bengaluru early and skipped the press briefing due to feeling “upset” at not being named the Convener of the new coalition. However, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) dismissed the comment, stating that the Chief Minister left early to catch his flight.

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