Opposition Leaders Unhappy With AAP's Charge Against Congress On Ordinance Row

The Aam Aadmi Party stated strongly against Congress for their apathy towards the Centre's ordinance row which has left several leaders at the Opposition meeting in Patna, unimpressed.

Arvind Kejriwal at award function

Several opposition parties who were present at the unity meeting in Patna were not impressed by the Aam Admi Party's charge against the Congress party for their apathy towards the centre's ordinance issue. 

Reportedly five leaders among the participants did not like AAP's attitude towards Congress in the context of the ordinance issue.

Left leaders on AAP's statement

Dipankar Bhattacharya, Communist Party of India(ML) Liberation general secretary, reportedly said, "It is very unfortunate that the AAP seems to be looking at the issue through the prism of rivalry with Congress in Delhi and Punjab." He asserted that it was wrong on AAP's part to say in an official statement that the Congress “refused” to oppose the ordinance at the meeting, despite being asked to do so by “many parties”.

The Left leader added, “All parties were unanimous in the condemnation of the ordinance. But the AAP leadership must place the issue in a broader context. It is about the attacks on the Constitution and the principal of federalism by the BJP government, a reason why we all buried our differences and joined hands."

"I would admire the maturity shown by our friends from Jammu and Kashmir, who did recall with pain that AAP had voted in favour of the bill, in Parliament, that stripped the northern state of its special status, its statehood and its integrity,” Dipankar also reportedly said.

The Left leader also said he had requested the AAP delegation to stay back for the press conference after the meeting.

"They did not agree to do so. But we are happy that overall, the meeting remained fruitful," the CPI(ML) Liberation leader said.

Notably, the AAP delegation, comprising Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chaddha, boarded the return flight immediately after lunch, and the party came out with a statement voicing its “suspicions” over the Congress' “intentions”.

CPI general secretary D Raja, a veteran leader who was among those present at the meeting, also agreed that “all parties, without exception, did criticise the ordinance”.

“The Congress, too, was with us in criticising the ordinance which aims at snatching power away from an elected government. In all probability, all parties present at the meeting will vote against a bill seeking to replace the ordinance. The Congress may just be taking its own time to make a public announcement to the effect," Raja said.

He also took exception to a section of the media using the word “boycott” to describe AAP's stance and asserted that “Kejriwal and his colleagues were present all through the meeting and had lunch with us. They did leave early because of other engagements elsewhere”.

People's Democratic Party on AAP's statement

Similar views were expressed by People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, one of the two delegates from Jammu and Kashmir, the other being Omar Abdullah of the National Conference.

Mehbooba Mufti reportedly said, “Arvind Kejriwal did raise the issue of the ordinance at the meeting. Nobody flinched from criticising the ordinance. I also did not hold a grudge against his party having voted in favour of scrapping of Article 370. Though the agenda of the meeting was opposition unity."

Janata Dal (United) party on AAP's statement

Another attendee of the meeting, Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lalan”, national president of Nitish Kumar's JD(U), noted that the ordinance was “never the main agenda. Though Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to have a personal opinion and act on the same”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has expressed glee over AAP's tantrums as evident from a statement issued soon after the meeting.

Former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi claimed, “An angry Kejriwal refused to join the press conference….. the meeting is a flop. Leaders like (RJD president) Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar who had fought the Congress during Emergency are now aligning with the same party."

Lalan, however, pointed out, “It was not the Congress, per se, that we were fighting against. We were fighting against the assault on democracy and the Jana Sangh, the BJP's previous avatar, was with us in that fight. Now that they are guilty of the same offence, we must fight against them. Nitish Kumar had vowed to defeat the BJP upon snapping ties with that party. On Friday, all parties lent support to his drive”.

 Kumar's deputy Tejashwi Yadav, who is Lalu Prasad's younger son and heir apparent, avoided giving out too much on the exchanges with AAP, but asserted that “there was no bitterness shown by anybody. All issues were discussed in a cordial manner and all parties agreed to meet again in Shimla to take the fight against fascist forces forward”.

(With PTI inputs)