New Delhi: Congress leader Sonia Gandhi asked all the opposition parties at a meeting chaired by her here on Thursday to adopt a common strategy both inside Parliament and outside to act on various issues of national importance.
Gandhi asked the leaders from 17 opposition parties present at the meeting to work together on issues of common concern and national importance such as caste and communal violence, unemployment, price rise, undermining of Constitutional institutions by the government etc despite mutual differences at state level, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after the meeting.
However, Azad dismissed speculations of the meeting being a precursor to UPA-III, saying there is only a broad consensus among the non-NDA parties to oust the present government. The meeting discussed topics and issues raised by Gandhi in her opening remarks.
Azad said that Gandhi cautioned the opposition leaders against the ideology of hate and communal and caste violence. Gandhi also raised the issue of “Aadhaar misuse” by the Narendra Modi government to “breach” privacy of citizens. She said Aadhaar was meant for welfare schemes but is being misused by the government.
“She also raised the issue of economic health of the country, which she said, remained precarious.
“Another point she raised was that of unemployment which is a matter of great concern for the entire nation and the government is not doing anything in this regard,” Azad said.
Gandhi said the price rise of the essential commodities in general and of petrol, diesel and gas in particular is another matter of great concern for the nation. Azad said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi also stressed that although in different states different parties are in power or in opposition and is a clash of interests is bound to be there, but “when the states issue would emerge then we would find a solution to that”.
“But as an opposition we are whole then those who are not in NDA, that means those who do not follow the NDA’s ideology and they would want that the government should go out. And for that we shall work together,” Azad reported Rahul Gandhi as saying. Azad said a group of seven parties has already been formed and it would decide the future course of action.
Those present at the meeting included former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, expelled JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, CPI chief D. Raja, CPI-M leader Mohammed Saleem, NC leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, RLD leader Ajit Singh among others.