Mamata, Naidu architects of meet; Mayawati, Akhilesh stay away
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 10
A day ahead of the announcement of election results to five State assemblies, over a dozen Opposition parties met here on Monday to chart the future course. They resolved to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
While 21 Opposition parties attended the meeting, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — allies in Uttar Pradesh — decided to stay away without citing any reason.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who usually keeps off such meetings, attended, giving a boost to the efforts of other Opposition parties. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu were the key architects of Monday’s meeting.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the combined goal is to defeat the BJP and protect India’s institutions. Opposition unity is a process, he added, hinting that more parties would join the bandwagon in the near future. Naidu said democratic compulsions have brought the parties together.
A senior leader who attended the meeting said there was a clamour among a section of political parties that Rahul be projected as the leader of the Opposition camp.
A statement issued by the Opposition parties reaffirmed their “strong and steadfast resolve to confront and defeat the forces that are subverting our Constitution and making a mockery of our democracy.”
“India needs a government that cares for the working class, kisans and khet mazdoors and is always sensitive to the enormous pain that they and their families are going through. India needs a government that makes education accessible and affordable to all sections of the people and fulfils the aspirations of youth for decent and secure jobs that provide fair wages to the employed,” the resolution said.
“India needs a government that empowers the weaker sections of society — scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs, women and minorities — to lead a life of complete security and dignity,” it added.
The statement further said India needs a truthful government that does not propagate falsehoods and does not make bogus claims and that will banish the current all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
The parties said India needs a government that is committed to faster economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable and growth that does not sharpen inequalities among people and among states. “India needs a government that is not mired in rank corruption and loot of people’s resources, a government which does not attack the entire banking system through insurmountable NPAs benefiting crony capitalists. India needs a government that does not put a conspiratorial lid over multiple corruption scams like Rafale, nor becomes an abettor to the escape of bank defaulters,” the statement said.
Batting for enterprise
“We need a government where harassment of businessmen and industrialists would end and the spirit of enterprise must be allowed full freedom,” it said.
The statement urged all liberal, progressive and secular forces to join the Opposition in the battle to save the Constitution. “It is in the interests of safeguarding and strengthening our Constitutional Republic and people’s livelihood that this RSS/BJP government is ousted,” it said.