‘In interest of nation’: Sonia Gandhi asks Opposition to plan ‘systematically’ for 2024 LS polls
Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged top Opposition leaders to rise above individual compulsions “in the interest of the nation” and start planning “systematically” for the “ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha elections” with “the single-minded objective” of giving India a government that “believes in the values of the Freedom Movement and in the principles and provisions of our Constitution.”
Addressing a virtual meeting of 19 Opposition parties in the national capital on Friday, Gandhi also expressed confidence that the newfound unity of Opposition in Parliament “will be sustained in future sessions” as well. But reminded that “the larger political battle has to be fought outside it.”
“This is a challenge, but together we can and must rise to it because there is simply no alternative to working cohesively together. We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them,” said Gandhi, ahead of a daunting task of bringing various regional outfits with conflicting interests to form a grand coalition to take on a formidable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next elections.
“Of course, the ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for which we have to begin to plan systematically with the single-minded objective of giving to our country a government that believes in the values of the Freedom Movement and the principles and provisions of our Constitution,” she said, in the first such meeting of top Opposition leaders in a year.
Maharashtra chief minister Udhav Thackeray, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India’s D Raja and others were present. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were not invited while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) skipped the meeting.
Gandhi recalled suggestions made by the Congress to amend the vaccination policy which was later accepted by the Centre. “Some crucial changes were introduced in the procurement system of vaccines following our intervention. Needless to say, as always, somebody else has taken the credit. This does not matter really, as long as the people of the country have benefitted,” she said.