Why did the NCP skip the joint opposition meet

Victory despite ‘toughest hurdles’ JD ’s Sharad Yadav congratulates Congress leader Ahmed Patel

Prakash Singh AFP

Veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel's re-election in Rajya Sabha for the fifth consecutive term from Gujarat seat has fuelled in a new life in the Opposition.

The meeting had been called to discuss Opposition unity and to chalk out a strategy against the Narendra Modi government.

While the Congress leaders are reaching out to leaders of breakaway groups (Mamata Banerjee of the TMC, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party or the YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy), a similar effort to bring together the splinter groups of the Janata Dal factions has been initiated. If the meeting did not touch on the NCP's absence, party MP Praful Patel told Aaj Tak he was annoyed that the Congress had not believed that one of its MLAs had indeed provided the 44th winning vote to the latter's senior leader Ahmed Patel in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls. The NCP justified the decision and said its leaders were very angry.

"We are not beholden to the Congress". These MLAs, along with Shankersinh Vaghela, were removed from the party for six years on Wednesday, a day after the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8. "And what we get in return is accusations", Patel said.

"You are talking of two parties and not talking about the 16 parties who attended the meeting", he said.

Yechury also walked out of the meeting saying the CPI (M) has chose to launch an independent peoples' struggle on twin issues of agrarian crisis and unemployment to build a popular alternative narrative to the propaganda unleashed bu the Modi-led BJP.

Following repeated defeats at the hands of the BJP in a series of elections and the saffron party's aggressive push to establish footprints in non-BJP ruled states through other means (such as in Bihar), the Opposition leaders are working around the "unite or perish" principle.

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