Big Oppn meet over CAA and economy suffers huge blow with 6 key absentees
The DMK’s absence from the party meet, however, was the biggest surprise and setback too, particularly since MK Stalin’s party has been piling pressure on the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to distance itself from the NDA government’s move at the Centre.Updated: Jan 13, 2020 21:06 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is chairing a meeting of opposition parties on Monday in an effort to step up the effort to counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on the citizenship law, the proposed citizens’ register and the economy.
The attempt to draw up a joint strategy had suffered a setback long before the meeting started on Monday afternoon after Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati also decided to stay away.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been sore about the Congress and Left campaign in the state against her government, had last week RSVPed to say that she would not attend the meeting.
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But Congress leaders had expected Mayawati’s BSP and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party to depute a representative. Mayawati announced her decision to keep her party out of this opposition front in a bundle of tweets fired earlier in the day.
In these, she blamed the Congress for luring her party’s legislators in Rajasthan though the BSP had extended outside support to the Ashok Gehlot government. To join the Congress-led opposition meet under these circumstances would demoralise her party leaders in Rajasthan, she tweeted.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, JMM leader and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, LJD chief Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Upendra Kushwaha, RJD leader Manoj Jha, National Conference leader Hasnain Masoodi, besides Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were among those present.
The DMK’s absence from the party meet, however, was the biggest surprise and setback too, particularly since MK Stalin’s party has been piling pressure on the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to distance itself from the NDA government’s move at the Centre.
Shiv Sena, the Congress’ brand-new alliance partner in Maharashtra, and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party that rules in national capital Delhi, have also stayed away from the meeting. AAP lawmaker Sanjay Singh told news agency ANI that there was no question of his party attending the opposition meeting since they had not received the invitation.
There is no clarity yet if the Shiv Sena had been invited to the opposition. It has been ambivalent on the new citizenship law, particularly after it supported the amendment in the Lok Sabha but abstained in the Rajya Sabha. Since then, it has hurled many darts at the ruling BJP at the Centre over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens but hasn’t directly criticised the concept of extending citizenship to religious minorities from three muslim-majority countries in the neighbourhood.