Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hosted a breakfast meeting for Opposition leaders to discuss the Opposition’s strategy in Parliament regarding the Pegasus row.
The meeting, which was hosted at the Constitution Club in Delhi, was attended by the leaders of NCP, Shiv Sena, CPI-M, CPI, RJD and Samajwadi Party. Many Congress MPs were also present apart from leaders of JMM, JKNC besides IUML, RSP, KCM and RSP. Trinamool Congress, which had skipped the last meeting of Opposition leaders hosted by Gandhi, was also present at today's breakfast meet.
Besides Gandhi, senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, KC Venugopal and Jairam Ramesh were present at the meeting.
Leaders of 17 opposition parties were invited at the breakfast meeting, but the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) did not attend.
Among the leaders who attended the meeting were Saugata Roy, Kalyan Banerjee, Mohua Moitra (TMC), Sanjay Raut and Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena), Manoj Jha (RJD), Kanimozhi (DMK) and Ram Gopal Yadav (SP).
Several opposition MPs led by Gandhi later cycled to Parliament to highlight the issue of fuel price hike.
The meeting comes amid continued standoff between the Opposition and the government over the Pegasus snooping issue with the Opposition demanding a discussion in Parliament and a Supreme Court monitored probe in the matter. The Centre, however, has claimed that this is a non-issue and does not want it to be discussed in Parliament.
"The single motive to invite you is that we should unite. The more this voice unites, the more powerful it will become, the more difficult it will become for the BJP and RSS to suppress this voice," Gandhi said at the meeting.
"We should remember the foundation of unity and it is important that now we start to come up with the principles of this foundation," he told the Opposition leaders.
Meanwhile, Congress sources tell Outlook, Gandhi's eagerness to take centre stage in the effort to keep the Opposition bloc united has been shaped to some degree by his interactions with poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who is likely to join the Grand Old Party in a key role when interim party chief Sonia Gandhi carried out a “drastic revamp of party organisation sometime after the Parliament’s monsoon session ends on August 13.” Kishor, who has been a poll strategist for Opposition parties like the Trinamool, DMK, AAP and the YSR Congress in recent years, has been stressing the need for all Opposition parties to bury their differences and come together if they wish to defeat the BJP in 2024. To this end, Kishor has been discussing a blueprint for Opposition unity with the Gandhis as well as other Opposition satraps like Pawar, Banerjee and others ever since the recent assembly polls in Bengal saw the BJP suffer a humiliating defeat by the Trinamool.
(With PTI inputs)