Monsoon Session of Parliament: 18 Opposition parties join hands to take on Centre on GST, demonetisation

New Delhi: Eighteen opposition parties have come together to take on the government in Parliament during the Monsoon Session beginning 17 July, over issues like demonetisation, GST, etc, according to political sources.

Leaders of these parties discussed the broad strategy and issues to be taken up in Parliament during Tuesday's meeting, which was primarily convened to discuss the opposition's nominee for the vice-presidential polls, the sources told PTI while refusing to be identified.

Trinamool Congress is the second largest Opposition party. Reuters file image

Trinamool Congress is the second largest Opposition party. Reuters file image

There was a "broad agreement" on five issues over which the 18 parties will target the government inside and outside Parliament and through social media, the sources said. These issues are: Ill-effects of demonetisation, rushing through GST's implementation, farmers' distress and suicides, alleged political vendetta, protection of the country's federal structure, and spreading of fake news and inciting people communally, they said.

Referring to the alleged "political vendetta", sources said there have been cases against Trinamool Congress leaders in the "Narada scam" and raids on former finance minister P Chidambaram's family as also on the family of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Tuesday's meeting was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien, JDU's Sharad Yadav, NCP's Praful Patel, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Samajawadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal, BSP's Satish Mishra as also leaders from 10 other parties.

When contacted by PTI, O'Brien did not go into details of the deliberations of that meeting but said, "Individual parties will have their issues to be taken up but on some issues, there is a broad understanding among the 18 parties."

O'Brien, who is Trinamool's national secretary and the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha, added, "We are all working as a team. There is no question of oneupmanship by an party in the Opposition." In the 545-member Lok Sabha, Congress has 45 members while Trinamool has 34.

At the meeting, the sources said, Naresh Agrawal of Samajwadi Party suggested that the Opposition parties should have such interactions at least once a month to coordinate their positions. Such meetings should be held not only in Delhi but also in state capitals, Agrawal suggested, according to the sources.

Significantly, these parties displayed unanimity in choosing their candidate for the vice-presidential polls, the sources said. The name of Gopal Krishna Gandhi was proposed by O'Brien after Sonia Gandhi asked him to begin deliberations and it was immediately endorsed by all present, the sources said. There was no second name, they emphasised.

Trinamool was given the first right to propose the joint candidate as it is the second largest opposition party. The largest opposition party, the Congress, had utilised this option in selection of the joint candidate for the presidential polls, the sources explained.

Seventeen opposition parties have jointly fielded Congress leader Meira Kumar for the presidential polls. Significantly, the JDU, which backed the ruling NDA nominee for the presidential poll, went with the opposition parties in the context of the vice-presidential candidate.

Updated Date: Jul 17, 2017 08:56 AM

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