Congress president Sonia Gandhi today chaired a virtual meeting of 19 opposition parties in which several chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states also participated. During the virtual meeting, the opposition parties agreed to work towards a common agenda while Sonia Gandhi maintained that the ultimate goal is to uproot the BJP government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“Ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. We must plan systematically with the single-minded objective to give a government which believes in values of freedom movement and in the principles and provisions of our Constitution,” said Sonia Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi said that only together the parties can rise to the challenge posed by the BJP and added that there is ‘simply no alternative to working cohesively together’. “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 Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress president also said that while she is confident of opposition unity in Parliament, the larger political battle has to be fought outside it. The remarks can be seen as an attempt to send feelers to the parties to unite in even assembly polls to take on the BJP’s might.
She said that Parliament’s Monsoon Session was a complete washout due to the government’s unwillingness to discuss the Pegasus snooping issue.
During the meeting, all the Chief Ministers said that the opposition will have to be united and alleged that non-BJP state governments are being harassed.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar raised the farmers’ issue during the meeting. “Farmers have been protesting for several months, it’s a painful picture for a democratic country like India. The nation is facing many issues like economic slowdown, Covid pandemic, unemployment, border dispute, issue of minority communities etc,” said Pawar.
Pawar said that the present government has failed to address all these issues. “Those who believe in democracy and secularism, those who want to work together to save the democratic principles of our country should come together, that is my call,” said Pawar.
He also highlighted that the newly created Ministry of Cooperation is interfering in the Constitutional rights and responsibilities of the state government.
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also participating in the meeting. Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, DMK’s MK Stalin, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, JMM’s Hemant Soren, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, LJD’s Sharad Yadav, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury were prominent leaders present during the meeting. A total of 19 parties participated in the meeting – Congress, TMC, NCP, DMK, Shiv Sena, JMM, CPI, CPI(M), National Conference, RJD, AIUDF, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Loktantrik Janta Dal, JD(S), RLD, RSP, Kerala Congress (M), PDP and IUML.