Sharad Pawar's NCP skips meeting called to discuss Opposition unity

Rahul Gandhi Rahul Gandhi convoy attacked Congress Shankar Chaudhary Gujarat India news Indian Express

Gandhinagar: Seven MLAs from the camp of Shankersinh Vaghela, who had been expelled from Congress party for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls, tendered their resignations from their assembly seats on Friday morning.

While the Congress leaders are reaching out to leaders of breakaway groups (Mamata Banerjee of the TMC, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party or the YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy), a similar effort to bring together the splinter groups of the Janata Dal factions has been initiated.

The meeting was called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Within hours of Ansari marking his presence at the meeting, the JD (U) suspended him from the parliamentary party.

While Congress leader Ahmed Patel's success at pulling off victory from the jaws of defeat in the Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat provides hopes, the Nitish Kumar affair in Bihar has dealt a debilitating blow to unity efforts amongst the "secular parties" in recent weeks. NCP leader Praful Patel said his party chose to boycott the meeting as the Congress was accusing it of not supporting the Ahmed Patel when its legislators had cast their votes in his favour. Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Narayanasamy said a party that lost its deposit in all 18 constituencies that it contested in the last Assembly elections was "day dreaming" of installing its own government in the UT. But we will not be attending it, "he said".

The Congress however played the incident down.

"You are talking of two parties and not talking about the 16 parties who attended the meeting", he said. This is a Congress propaganda to project the NCP as a B-team of the BJP, he also said.

Azad said the leaders made a decision to form a small coordination committee that would talk to all parties and chalk out a common programme for the next three months.

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