The India of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be allowed to become of a country of his assassin Nathuram Godse, PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said after a meeting of some opposition parties here on Friday.
Another former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, said these parties have come together "not for power, but for principles" and to keep democracy alive in this country.
Leaders of 17 opposition parties resolved here to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections unitedly to defeat the BJP. After the meeting, most of the leaders addressed a press conference jointly.
In her remarks, Mehbooba, the Peoples Democratic Party president, said, "We can't let Gandhi's India become Godse's country.... We feel that Jammu and Kashmir is the supporter and votary of the idea of India. Our attempt will be to ensure that Gandhi's nation does not become Godse's country."
She alleged the country is witnessing how minorities are being treated and how democracy is being undermined, and added the opposition parties have come together to counter that.
In his address to the press, National Conference leader Abdullah said the 17 parties from Kashmir to Kanyakumari have come together "not for power, but for principles".
"We have come together to save the country from disaster, pull it out of trouble and to keep democracy alive in this country," he said.
The credit for the success of today's meeting goes to Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar as it is not easy to bring together so many leaders.
"It is not more important as to who is not there than those who are present here," he said.
"This is not a battle for power that we are fighting, but of ideals and ideology. This is a battle of thought and to save the country," he added.
At the meeting, the parties decided to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections unitedly to defeat the BJP and work with flexibility by setting aside their differences. They will meet in Shimla next month to chalk out a joint strategy.
This is the first such effort towards opposition unity to take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
-With PTI Input