Following the disqualification of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, leaders of 18 opposition parties met at the residence of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi on Monday and decided to continue with their campaign against the Narendra Modi government.
Among the parties that were represented at the meeting, which was followed by dinner, were the DMK, NCP, JD(U), BRS, CPI(M), CPI, AAP, MDMK, KC, TMC, RSP, RJD, NC, IUML, VCK, SP and JMM who alleged that the BJP-led government is destroying democracy.
The leaders raised the issue of their demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into a controversy surrounding industrialist Gautam Adani's business group as also former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case and resolved to fight against the designs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) together.
"To save one man, Modiji is trampling the interests of 140 Cr people. To protect PM's 'Param Mitr', BJP stalls Parliament that discusses people's issues. If NO wrong is committed, why is govt shying away from opposition's demand for a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee?" Kharge wrote on Twitter after the meeting.
To save one man, Modi ji is trampling the interests of 140 Cr people.— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) March 27, 2023
To protect PM's 'Param Mitr', BJP stalls Parliament that discusses people's issues.
If NO wrong is committed, why is Govt shying away from Opposition's demand of a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee ? pic.twitter.com/53Bz3HEtSE
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the leaders resolved to fight against the BJP unitedly.
"Tonight floor leaders of 18 Opposition parties met at the residence of @kharge ji and with one voice decided to continue with their campaign against the Modi regime that is destroying democracy and that has subverted all institutions," Ramesh wrote on Twitter.
"They expressed their collective resolve to combat Modi's politics of fear and intimidation. This resolve will be reflected in joint actions outside Parliament beginning now," he added.
Tonight floor leaders of 18 Oppn parties met at the residence of @kharge ji and with ONE voice decided to continue with their campaign against the Modi regime that is destroying democracy & that has subverted all institutions.— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) March 27, 2023
Earlier, the Congress's deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Pramod Tiwari, said the time has come to herald the end of the Modi regime. He said the leaders of all the parties have expressed unanimity in fighting it out against the Modi government and seeking its ouster.
The comments were repeated by party leader Gaurav Gogoi, who said this is the beginning of the end of the Modi dispensation.
Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting, which was also attended by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has so far kept its distance from joint opposition protests.
Shiv Sena steer clear
The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) skipped the meeting in protest of Gandhi's remarks against Veer Savarkar. Sena leader Sanjay Raut said they would not attend the meeting.
"My name is not Savarkar, won't apologise," Gandhi had remarked in his response after he got a two-year jail term over his over his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname and was disqualified as an MP.
Following this, Thackeray also warned of a rift in the opposition alliance in Maharastra if Gandhi would not stop "insulting" their "god".
"I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that we have come together, that's right, we have come together to save democracy and constitution in this country. But do not make any statements that will create fissures," he had said.
(with PTI inputs)