Top Opposition leaders huddled in New Delhi on Monday to discuss forging a grand alliance to take on the BJP-NDA in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The meeting came a day before the results of the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram Assembly polls are scheduled to be announced and the winter session of Parliament is slated to begin.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the meeting was "very productive", and asked the RSS and the BJP to stop "assaulting" institutions and Indian Constitution.Â â€œIn the middle of the meeting we were told that the BJP/RSS agenda is progressing and that RBI governor has resigned. There was consensus that we will work together to defeat BJP/RSS,â€ said Gandhi.
Gandhi added that the his party will fight against issues like Rafel fighter jets deal, demobilisation even in Parliament during the winter session scheduled to begin on Tueday.
Speaking the Opposition parties meeting, Gandhi said the goal is to defeat the BJP and "protect India's institutions".Â
Also present at the meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP was behaving like a dictator, there should be a campaign against this rule. SheÂ proposed the Opposition should meet again on Tuesday and meet President Ram Nath Kovind on the RBI issue. On Monday, Reserve of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel resigned citing his personal reasons.Â Â
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu coordinated the meeting. He had invited the leaders of all the non-BJP parties. The main agenda behind the meeting was to bring the opposition parties together to set aside their difference and fight as a team to defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections. Naidu, however, believes that it will not be easy to bring everybody on the same page, but it isnâ€™t impossible.
Besides Naidu, veteran Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, DMK chief MK Stalin, former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah, and others attended the meeting at the Parliament House Annexe.
Delhi: Dr Manmohan Singh, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah, MK Stalin and others arrive at Parliament House Annexe for meeting of opposition parties pic.twitter.com/sWEv6b4tIOâ€” ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2018
According to news agency ANI, a total of 17 parties were present at the meeting. There had been no representation from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Earlier in the day, Stalin met Kejriwal, hours before the meeting of opposition parties.
Sources in the AAP said during the 20-minute meeting held at the Chief Minister's residence, Stalin stressed on the opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president also asked Kejriwal to drop his "resistance" against the Congress and come together to strengthen opposition unity to remove the BJP-led government at the Centre, sources added.
Kejriwal was also expected to meet Mamata Banerjee prior to the meeting.
(With agency inputs)