BJP backs NCP's decision of skipping Opposition meet


Soon after the conclusion of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, 16 Opposition parties met here on Friday to chart strategies for the period before the Winter Session.

Utilising the stage to criticise veteran BJP leader LK Advani, Gandhi said the veteran was opposed to the amendment but the special status was granted once Congress came to power in 2004 under the rule of UPA-I. According to a report by The Indian Express, the meeting was called in order to launch a joint campaign against the NDA government on issues such as increasing unemployment, attacks on minorities, agrarian crisis and others.

The absence of the NCP, a constituent of the UPA, from the meeting triggered speculations that it is no more in the good books of the Congress, particularly after the Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat. He called it a Congress propaganda to project NCP as "BJP's B-team" to damage its credentials ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat. "We also thanked MPs and MLAs who voted for them", Azad told reporters. "Conduct any meeting; nothing can hamper us in any way". Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav has been invited for the meeting. However, NCP's decision to stay away from the gathering came as a jolt to the opposition which has just lost JD (U) after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA-fold. Mr Ansari was promptly suspended from the parliamentary party.

To bolster its joint parliamentary strategy, the opposition has made a decision to come up with a small group which will coordinate with all the opposition leaders, discuss issues and come up with a plan of what should be raised in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.

He is also organising a conclave in New Delhi on August 17, which will be attended by opposition leaders. However, Mr Yechury said the Left has a problem with such a programme.

Accusing the Modi government of indulging in false and hollow promises, the congress leader said people know that Congress will do, what it says. "It would look more like a tamasha if we go to public without any narrative", sources quoted Yechury as saying.

Justifying the no-show, NCP MP Praful Patel said his party was angry at being accused of not voting for Ahmed Patel despite having issued a whip in his favour. He also recounted how some parties had chickened out of the plan to collectively protest against demonetisations previous year.