NCP boycotts Opposition meeting called by Sonia Gandhi

Claudine Rigal
Août 12, 2017

Just days after a morale-boosting win for Congress leader Ahmed Patel in a hard-fought Rajya Sabha election, the opposition received a setback with NCP staying away from a meeting called to chalk out a joint strategy against BJP.

After Lalu Yadav's anti-BJP rally planned for August 27 in Patna, opposition unity will face its big test in Gujarat where the Congress has chose to launch a satyagraha on 1 September along with other opposition parties, to protest what it calls are attacks on tribals in the state.

The NCP's decision to stay away from the meeting is being linked to the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls. Another opposition party NCP did not attend the meeting.

However, NCP leader Praful Patel was quoted as saying by PTI that "even after we issued a whip to our MLAs (in Gujarat) and they voted for the Congress, why should we be accused of not supporting it?"

JD (U) MP Ali Anwar's presence gave a feeling that the Bihar ruling party is on the verge of a split. The anti-BJP front, already seriously dented by the exit of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last month, now appears to have shrunk from 18 to 16 members.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said his party is of the view that the Narendra Modi regime can be opposed by creating an alternative narrative through the struggles of people.

The EC on late Tuesday night declared votes of two Congress MLAs - Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel - invalid.

Yesterday, talking exclusively to NDTV, Patel said, "Who voted for me is suspense", implying that he was not convinced of Pawar's claim.

Asked whether the Sharad Pawar-led party will be part of the Opposition unity, the former Civil Aviation Minister in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet said the issue will be decided "when the time comes".

Sources said there was a suggestion, which was keenly supported by some parties, that there should be joint public meetings in major cities.

The Bengal unit, which demanded Yechury's renomination, had argued that the CC decision would make Congress and TMC closer in the state that would go against CPI (M)'s interest.

Yechury said after the meeting that this could be done through effective strategy and taking up pro-people issues such as agrarian crisis. He also recounted how some parties had chickened out of the plan to collectively protest against demonetisations a year ago.

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