UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today presided over a meeting of opposition leaders to plan a joint strategy for the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament and work towards opposition unity to take on the BJP.
The meeting, held at the Parliament Library Building, is seen as part of efforts to galvanise support of all 17 parties which had come together during the presidential and vice presidential polls against the ruling party.
Top leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, senior party leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge; NCP chief Sharad Pawar; National Conference President Farooq Abdullah; RJD’s Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, CPI national secretary D Raja and SP’s Ramgopal Yadav attended the meeting.
This is first meeting chaired by Gandhi after relinquishing the post of Congress president last year. She continues to be the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Crucial issues like the instant triple talaq bill, the Supreme Court judges row and the recent communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh were likely to be discussed during the meeting, sources said.
The meeting came three days after Pawar hosted some opposition leaders for tea at his residence here. That meeting had skeletal opposition presence and it was therefore decided to hold another larger one post the Budget presentation.
Pawar had also met Sonia and Rahul Gandhi that day after the president’s address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session.