Opposition meet brings Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, to same room. It’s a first
Top leaders of major opposition parties got together at Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s home in New Delhi late on Wednesday evening.
Among those present at the opposition meeting were Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
After it concluded, Rahul Gandhi called the meeting was constructive, according to news agency ANI.
“We had a very constructive meeting. We agreed that principal target for all of us is to fight against assault on institutions being carried out by BJP,” he said.
The meeting comes hours after a massive opposition rally in New Delhi in which various political leaders launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a host of issues.
During the Opposition rally Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the PM was trying to “tear apart the Constitution and destroy democracy”.
The late evening meeting is possibly to cobble together an alliance of sorts of the Opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP.
The daylong mega show of strength did not see as many Opposition leaders as Mamata’s United India rally had on January 19. Leaders from only 15 parties turned up for the Delhi show as against the 23 who had turned up for the Kolkata rally.
Rahul Gandhi, who had not attended the Kolkata rally did not attend today’s Delhi show either, instead sent senior party leader Anand Sharma to represent the party.
Mamata Banerjee had earlier in the day said that while the TMC and Congress will contest against each other in the state, they are friends at the national level to ‘fight’ the BJP.
“Congress, CPM will fight against us in Bengal but will be together nationally,” she said at the ‘Tanashahi Hatao, Desh Bachao’ (Remove Dictatorship, Save Country) rally in Delh’s Jantar Mantar hosted by the Aam Admi party (AAP). She insisted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed to go. “Modi hatao, desh bachao,” (Remove Modi, save country), Banerjee said.
Reiterating that Modi’s days were over, Mamata dared him to arrest her.
“Today is the last day of Parliament, Modi’s expiry date is over. It is only a matter of days, jo darte hain woh marte hain; joh larte hain woh jeet tey hain (Those who are scared, perish, those who fight, win), They can’t scare us for long. What will Modi do? Send me to jail, set agencies against us or murder us? We are not the ones to be afraid.”
Protesting against the Centre’s refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh, TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu had exited the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March last year. Since then, he has been holding talks with various opposition parties to stitch together an alliance as an alternative to the BJP-led NDA. Naidu hopes to retain Andhra Pradesh and win enough Lok Sabha seats to have a voice in an anti-Modi coalition in the Centre.