Cong to convene meeting of top opposition leaders in April to take unity efforts forward

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, CPI leader D. Raja, JKNK Chief Farooq Abdullah and others in 2022 | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Congress is set to convene a meeting of top opposition leaders in April after some organisations urged the grand old party to take the lead in strengthening unity among anti-BJP forces.

The meeting would take forward the bonhomie displayed by several opposition parties during the budget session of Parliament and it would be expanded outside too.

Congress sources said the proposal for this meeting was made at the meeting of opposition leaders convened by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge at his residence on Monday evening.

Some leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK leader T R Baalu, JDU's Lallan Singh and a CPI-M leader, called upon the Congress leadership to convene a meeting of party's national presidents and top leaders to chalk out a blueprint for the 2024 general elections, sources said.

A total of 19 opposition parties are now united on the issue of Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha after his conviction and two-year sentence in a defamation case by a Surat court.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said while 18 opposition parties attended the dinner meeting called by Kharge, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction skipped the meeting over Rahul Gandhi's anti-Savarkar comments.

He claimed that Shiv Sena (UBT) is now on board after its leader Sanjay Raut met and spoke to Rahul Gandhi and sorted out the issue over V D Savarkar.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi reportedly told Raut that they have their own views and the Congress has its own as well as ideology.

But, the immediate need is of opposition unity and the need to remain united in its fight against the BJP, Gandhi reportedly said, adding that every one should support each other.

Sources said during the meeting at Kharge's residence, Rahul Gandhi made it clear that all parties need to make sacrifices, the Congress will also make any sacrifice and he himself is ready to make any such sacrifice required to ensure opposition unity.

Opposition parties have displayed bomhomie during the budget session of Parliament when they remained together in their fight against the BJP and met everyday to ensure better coordination in both houses.

Rahul Gandhi's disqualification has brought together even those parties like the Trinamool Congress, BRS and AAP, which had remained equidistant from the Congress so far. This, the sources said, has helped boost opposition unity and paved the way for a strong and united opposition ahead of 2024 general elections.


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