Congress will try to unite opposition forces against Modi

  • Congress will try to unite opposition forces against Modi

Congress will try to unite opposition forces against Modi

The meeting brought together arch-rivals such as Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist); and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, chief of the Trinamool Congress; Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati; and Akhilesh Yadav, chief of the Samajwadi Party.

Other Left leaders CPI's S Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja and CPI-M's P Karunakaran were also present, apart from SP's Naresh Agarwal and Ram Gopal Yadav and BSPs Satish Mishra.

Kerala Congress, AIUDF, IUML, RSP and JMM were also present.

On Friday Congress president Sonia Gandhi presided over an opposition leaders meeting to build a consensus on the next presidential nominee. This has not happened so far.

The leaders will informally discuss a joint candidate for President to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's nominee. "The invitation was for parties, not individuals", he said.While JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar claimed Kumar could not attend Gandhi's meeting in Delhi due to prior engagements in Patna, including a vital cabinet meet, senior state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi differed.

She further added that the Opposition would accept the government's candidate, on the condition that he/she would be "secular" and uphold the Constitution. The Bihar Chief Minister is reported to have favoured a second term for incumbent Pranab Mukherjee. No names were discussed for a potential presidential candidate from the Opposition side.

"If the government comes up with a secular candidate with an unblemished past and without any affiliation to a political party, the opposition will consider it", this person said.

"Elections to the posts of President and VP are forthcoming".

Other opponent leaders used the stage for an unified opposition as a tool to criticise the central government for their policies.

Banerjee said all the parties were united in criticism of the government over Kashmir, the violence in Saharanpur and demonetisation. The fact is that the charges of financial wrongdoing against Lalu and his family members, his nexus with (jailed gangster) Mohammed Shahabuddin etc are damaging the image of the government.

Banerjee, who is on a two-day visit to Delhi, underlined that the decision of the meeting was to wait for the ruling dispensation to announce its candidate.

When all opposition parties denounced the Prime Minister's demonetisation move previous year as a reform that punished the poor, Mr Kumar stood out for his enthusiastic support of the notes ban, agreeing with PM Modi that it would counter black money and corruption. "All promises made to the youth have also failed", he said.