Miffed NCP Gives Joint Op­po­si­tion Meet­ing Called by Congress a Miss

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Op­po­si­tion par­ties ex­tend co­op­er­a­tion be­yond Par­lia­ment to take on the NDA govt; NCP up­set with Congress be­trayal charge, Sharad Ya­dav JDU fac­tion at­tends anti-BJP meet­ing New Delhi: A meet­ing of 16 op­po­si­tion par­ties con­vened by Congress chief So­nia Gandhi on Fri­day de­cided to ex­tend their co­op­er­a­tion be­yond the Par­lia­ment floor to across states, as they seek to mount a united fight against the BJP and the gov­ern­ment led by it. The meet­ing, which a leader termed as the “broad­est pos­si­ble unity” of the op­po­si­tion, saw one party boy­cotting it and a fac­tion of an­other mak­ing an en­try. The NCP, miffed with the Congress ad­ver­tis­ing how its two MLAs voted for the BJP in the Ra­jya Sabha elec­tion from Gu­jarat, stayed away on Fri­day.

The Sharad Ya­dav fac­tion of the JDU, how­ever, de­fied Ni­tish Ku­mar’s re­align­ment with the BJP and at­tended the anti-BJP meet­ing, which is part of ef­forts to nur­ture a grand al­liance against the NDA be­fore the next Lok Sabhs polls. Though the NCP had de­cided to send Tariq An­war, its Gu­jarat in charge Pra­ful Pa­tel later said the party was boy­cotting the meet­ing. The NCP camp, which had been main­tain­ing that its two MLAs had split their votes be­tween Ahmed Pa­tel and the BJP nom­i­nee in the Ra­jya Sabha poll, said it was up­set with the Congress charge. ET re­ported on Thurs­day that the Congress in­ter­nal as­sess­ment of the poll pattern con­vinced it that both NCP votes went to the BJP can­di­date.

The Congress has all through sus­pected that the Pra­ful Pa­tel-man­aged NCP unit in Gu­jarat and Ni­tish Ku­mar’s JD(U) were work­ing on a Third Front in the state by try­ing to co-opt Hardik Pa­tel’s out­fit and now Shankarsinh Vaghela, in a ploy to split anti-BJP votes in the De­cem­ber as­sem­bly polls.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Congress leader Ghu­lam Nabi Azad un­der­played the NCP’s ab­sence, say­ing: “Sharad Pawar ji is down with fever for

the past five days due to which he could not at­tend Par­lia­ment and the meet­ing.” JD(U) rebel MP Ali An­war, de­puted by Sharad Ya­dav to at­tend the meet­ing, told the meet­ing that the fac­tion has three MPs and will fully co­op­er­ate with the op­po­si­tion.

“On the ad­vice of JD(U) par­lia­men­tary party leader Sharad ji I at­tended the meet­ing. The need of the hour is for all sec­u­lar par­ties to unit­edly re­sist the neg­a­tive pol­i­tics of BJP and the Modi gov­ern­ment,” Ali told ET. Soon af­ter, Ali was sus­pended by the Nitsh Ku­marled JD(U). At the meet­ing, So­nia Gandhi thanked the par­ties for their united stand in the pres­i­den­tial and vice-pres­i­den­tial polls and urged them to ex­tend the unity be­yond Par­lia­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, Ma­mata Baner­jee said her party will be com­mit­ted to co­op­er­at­ing with all in unit­edly fight­ing the BJP — an in­di­ca­tion that the TMC isn’t averse to work­ing with even the CPM. CPM sec­re­tary Si­taram Yechury un­der­lined the need for a united move­ment, but was non­com­mit­tal on a CPM-TMC joint ac­tion. Yechury later told the me­dia, “we (the Op­po­si­tion) have to first change the nar­ra­tive, the po­lit­i­cal nar­ra­tive, to take on the Modi gov­ern­ment and the BJP.” CPI leader D Raja told the meet­ing his party “favoured unity of all sec­u­lar par­ties”. Sev­eral par­ties talked about what they called con­cerns of farm­ers, youth, farm­ers, Dal­its and Mus­lims “un­der the BJP-led gov­ern­ment”. Is­sues such as un­em­ploy­ment, cow vig­i­lan­tism, “sub­ver­sion of in­sti­tu­tions and mis­use of in­ves­ti­gat­ing agen­cies” were also com­mon con­cerns.

JD(U) rebel MP Ali An­war told the meet­ing that the fac­tion has three MPs and will fully co­op­er­ate with the op­po­si­tion

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