Hinting at more chinks in the armour of a joint opposition led by the Congress, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday skipped a meeting of opposition parties called by Sonia Gandhi here to discuss unity and chalk out a strategy against the NDA government. Pawar's NCP was one of the 18 parties invited by Sonia Gandhi. However, no one from the party turned up to attend the meeting.
NCP skipping the opposition meet comes amid reports that two of its MLAs in Gujarat may have voted for the BJP instead of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha elections that Patel won by a whisker.
The development also assumes significance following Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) bringing down curtains on the 20-month old Grand Alliance government and also dashing the hopes of other parties eyeing to corner BJP with Kumar’s backing.
Kumar had also lashed out the Congress for its failure to stitch together a united opposition.
Among the leaders present at today's meeting in Parliament complex were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, AK Antony, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, NC's Omar Abdullah, CPI leader D Raja, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and others.