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‘Simply no alternative to working cohesively together:’ Sonia Gandhi at 19-party meet

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi:Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that she is confident of opposition unity in Parliament, but she also stressed,”larger political battle has to be fought outside it,” during the 19-party Opposition meet in New Delhi.

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“This is a challenge, but together we can and must rise to it because there is simply no alternative to working cohesively together. We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them,” she said.

The Congress interim president also added that the ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha polls for which “we’ve to begin to plan systematically with single-minded objective of giving to our country a government that believes in the values of the Freedom Movement and in the principles and provisions of our Constitution.”

Addressing the opposition leaders, she also said that Parliament’s Monsoon Session, which took place from 19 July to 12 August, was “complete washout” due to government’s unwillingness to discuss Pegasus snooping issue.

“These include Pegasus scandal that affects each and every citizen, repeal of the three anti-farmer laws- the agitation of farmers that has been going on for past 9 months, price rise of essential commodities and assault on federalism & the institutions of our democracy,” Sonia said.

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“On behalf of the Congress Party, I have also written to the Prime Minister on many occasions to highlight the need for urgent measures such as direct cash support, especially to those whose livelihoods have been badly affected,” the Congress leader added.

The Opposition leaders met virtually under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and top leaders. Among those present at the meeting being held through video conferencing are West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi are also attending the meeting.

The meeting is a part of the Congress party’s efforts to unite various Opposition parties on key issues to set the platform to defeat Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Assembly elections in five states. In the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament, Opposition parties displayed unity, leading to disruption of both Houses.

The Opposition leaders had given several Suspension of Business notices, Adjournment Motion Notice and had sought a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row, along with the farm laws and other issues. Today’s meeting is being held in the backdrop of the government demanding strict action against those who indulged in unruly behaviour in the Upper House during the passing of the Insurance Amendment Bill.

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