Sonia chairs meeting with 18 opposition parties, AAP, SP, BSP missing


New Delhi, Aug 20 : Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi is holding a meeting with leaders of 19 opposition parties to discuss several issues, including the recently-concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament, party leaders said on Friday. A party leader said that besides the Congress, leaders of the Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the DMK, the Shiv Sena, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the National Conference, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the All India United Democratic Front, the VCK, the Loktantrik Janata Dal, the Janata Dal-Secular, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Kerala Congress-Mani, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Indian Union Muslim League were present. However, the Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party, and the Bahujan Samaj Party were not there. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Congress leaders A.K. Antony, and Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPI leader D. Raja, and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti were among those present. During the meeting, Soren, who is also the chief of the JMM, said: "We have to struggle and resist all anti-people policies in a more cohesive manner. We have to sharpen our attacks on issues like to income increase, inflation, unemployment, farmers issue, and Covid management." Banerjee, who is the Trinamool Congress chief, said: "We should fight the government collectively." She said that they must forget their internal differences to take the government head on. The Trinamool Congress leader also raised farmers issue and talked about the dictatorship of the central government. Issues like the economic slowdown, alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pegasus spyware controversy, and the farmers' protest were also on the agenda. The meeting called by Sonia Gandhi is being seen as a measure taken by the Gandhi family to reassert their position as the central figures among the Opposition. During the Monsoon Session, former party chief Rahul Gandhi had met with several leaders of the opposition over breakfast. On the other hand, Congress leader Kapil Sibal had organised a dinner party on August 9 which was attended by several top Opposition leaders. /IANS


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