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NCP skips opposition meet chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi

12 August 2017

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday is learnt to have assured Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar that the party would stand by him.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of 18 opposition parties on Friday, the last day of Parliament's monsoon session, to discuss the future course of action of the joint opposition and chalk out a strategy against the Modi government. Before this 17 opposition parties had united to decide a consensus candidate for the Presidential polls and then 19 parties united to decide the candidate for the Vice-Presidential elections.

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However, the NCP stayed away from the meeting at the insistence of senior leader Praful Patel who was upset at the constant criticism of the Pawar-led outfit by Congress leaders who claimed that his two MLAs did not vote in favour of Ahmed Patel in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury proposed that the parties should align with the people's movements on the ground, for instance like the farmers' unrest over policies of the government. There are fears in Congress that NCP chief Sharad Pawar may be drifting towards BJP too.

The NCP skipped a meeting of Opposition parties yesterday called by Sonia Gandhi after the Congress suggested that the former had betrayed them in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.

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NCP has been urging the Congress to form an alliance for the year-end Gujarat assembly elections, a proposal that was given a cold shoulder by the latter. Also NCP skipping the meeting shows that Congress has no power and has lost it long back. The parties chose to take up the issues of farmers, Dalits, minorities and other marginalised groups during the period. Apart from NCP, M Jose of Kerala Congress (Mani) excused himself from the meeting as he had a party programme on Friday.

To bolster its joint parliamentary strategy, the opposition has chose 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.

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NCP skips opposition meet chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi