New Delhi, Dec 27: Congress’ attempt to unite Opposition parties to carry forward attack on demonetisation and corruption charges on Prime Minister Narendra Modi beyond the Parliament seems stuck as many parties have decided to stay away from the joint press conference. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s also made failed attempt to bring Opposition parties at one platform under the leadership of her son and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. It is learnt now even Sonia Gandhi would not attend the joint press meet.
“I am hopeful that the way entire Opposition fought against Modi government together in House, they’ll come and take part in meet today as well,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad, Opposition leader of Rajya Sabha. JD(U), CPI(M), BSP, NCP and Samajwadi Party have decided to stay away from the joint press meet initiative. While JD(U) remained ambivalent, with KC Tyagi saying he may or may not join the Tuesday meeting, CPIM National General Secretary Sitaram Yechury was the first to publicly decline invitation to attend the joint Congress sponsored programme. BSP and SP remained silent on the issue.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be present at a meeting of the opposition parties. DMK, RJD and others are also scheduled to participate. Left parties appeared upset that the Congress did not bother to discuss the agenda of the ‘joint Opposition meeting’. “The proposal and the issues should have been first discussed with all opposition parties which should have been then taken to the action stage. It cannot be that somebody announces the date and time and everybody comes there,” Sitaram Yechury said, describing the development as “unfortunate”.
The Congress has called for a anti-demonetisation meeting here today. The meeting will be followed by a joint press conference to be addressed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. The meeting is seen as an attempt on the part of the grand old party to paper over the cracks that developed when several opposition parties skipped the joint march to Rashtrapati Bhawan on December 16 over demonetisation. While leaders of the TMC, RJD, JD-U and some other parties joined the Congress-led delegation, the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, NCP, DMK, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India and JD(Secular) stayed away.
Congress leader and former union minister Jairam Ramesh, however, has downplayed some political parties skipping the meeting, citing local and regional compulsions as reasons for non-participation. The stand-off between the opposition and the government over demonetisation led to a washout of the entire winter session of Parliament. Some 16 opposition parties had united to corner the Centre on demonetisation. (With ANI inputs)