Top Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, met Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar at his residence over dinner on Wednesday, hours after they spoke during a rally of opposition parties organised by the Aam Aadmi Party at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Wednesday.
"We had a very constructive meeting. We agreed that theÂ principal target for all of us is to fight against the assault on institutes being carried out by the BJP," said Gandhi said after the meeting.
"We agreed to start a conversation about a common minimum programme and we have a commitment that we are all going to work together to defeat the BJP," he added.
Banerjee, who was also present at the meeting, said: "We'll work together at the national level. We'll have a common minimum agenda. We'll have a pre-poll alliance."
Speaking at the rally, Kejriwal launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging he is trying to tear apart the Constitution and destroy democracy. On a day when the CAG report on the 2015 Rafale fighter deal was tabled in Parliament, Kejriwal said Modi should speak the truth on the agreement between India and France because, as prime minister, he is accountable to the nation.
"Modi is trying to tear apart the Constitution. He is destroying democracy," he said at a mega rally of opposition parties organised by his Aam Aadmi Party at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Referring to the controversy over the visit of a number of CBI officials visiting the Kolkata police commissioner's residence in connection with its probe into chit-fund cases, Kejriwal said sending "40 CBI officers" from Delhi was an attack on the elected government of West Bengal.
The rally was organised nearly three weeks after Banerjee hosted Opposition leaders in Kolkata in a similar show of strength on January 19.
Delhi: Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, NC chief Farooq Abdullah, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence pic.twitter.com/b19jwtfCuWâ€” ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2019
Banerjee said the situation in the country is worse than an emergency, and asserted that she would fight along with the Congress and Left at the national level despite their bitter rivalry in the state. Democracy has become 'Namocracy' under PM Modi-led NDA government at the Centre, said Trinamool Congress chief.
â€œWe will fight collectively in coming days. Whatever fight we have with the Congress, CPM will be limited to state. We will fight together at the national level. Let them fight against me, I don't mind. For the interest of the nation, I'm ready to sacrifice my life/party,â€ the West Bengal chief minister said while addressing a mega rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
"Opposition parties will fight unitedly at the national level," she asserted.
CPI leader D Raja said the Constitution is under attack under Narendra Modi as prime minister and asserted that Parliament has been undermined and bypassed and its role has been minimized under Modi.
"Can you allow a Germany-like situation where Hitler overpowered Reichstag(German parliament)," he said.
"BJP in power is a threat to constitution and democracy. It must be defeated," he added.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury alleged that BJP is professing politics of 'Dushashan' by pitting brothers against brothers. "There is need to replace this government for a better India. This chowkidar needs to be removed to save the country.
"BJP is like Kaurava Sena but the Pandavas (Opposition) will defeat them and save the country," he said.
Interestingly, minutes before Mamata Banerjee arrived, the two left leaders moved away from the stage. Other senior leaders, including Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, AAP's Sanjay Singh, Nationalist Congress Party's Sharad Pawar and LJD chief Sharad Yadav were also present at the rally.
(With PTI inputs)