On August 20, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi is set to chair a virtual meeting of leaders of Opposition parties. Expected to log in are Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, DMK’s M.K. Stalin, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, JMM’s Hemant Soren—all CMs—as well as NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and RJD’s Lalu Yadav, among others. The virtual meeting is part of efforts by various political stakeholders to unite like-minded Opposition parties and iron out differences among them well before the mammoth challenge of humbling Narendra Modi’s formidable BJP presents itself at the 2024 general elections.
But it’s hard to paper over the cracks in Opposition unity, although the parties presented enough optics, rhetoric and physical disruption of this monsoon session of Parliament to showcase a united stand against the Modi government on issues ranging from the Pegasus spyware row to farm laws. Par for the course were regular strategy sessions among floor leaders of Opposition parties, and the voluble interruption of parliamentary proceedings that forced the session to be curtailed by two days.