Opposition unity faces hiccups; upset NCP stays away

Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s dramatic victory in the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat has galvanised the party to organise a conclave of Opposition leaders in New Delhi to work out a plan for the 2019 general elections

Opposition unity faces hiccups; upset NCP stays away

MP Ali Anwar Ansari also attended the meeting as the representative of rebel leader Sharad Yadav, whom Gandhi had called on Thursday with an invitation to attend Friday's meeting. Nitish Kumar's JD (U) has already jumped ship and moved to the NDA.

From the meeting of the Opposition parties called by the Congress on Friday, it is evident that their unity remains a work in progress.

Mrs Gandhi's political aide, Ahmed Patel, had one vote less than what he needed to be r e-elected to the Rajya Sabha for a fifth term. But so did the lone Gujarat lawmaker from the Bihar Chief Minister's party, which meant he defied his boss' instructions.

The MLAs who resigned are Amit Chaudhary from Mansa, C K Raulji from Godhra, Raghavji Patel from Jamnagar (Rural), Bholabhai Gohel from Jasdan, Karamshibhai Patel from Sanand, Mahendrasinh Vaghela from Bayad and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja from Jamnagar (North) constituencies.

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In recent months, as the tension in Maharashtra between the BJP and its junior partner, the Shiv Sena, has swollen, there has been talk of Mr Pawar back-channelling offers of help, suggesting that he could fill in if the Sena yes exits the government.

Leaders of 16 opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee, Yechury, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, RJD's JPN Yadav, CPI's D Raja, SP's Naresh Agarwal, RLD's Ajit Singh among others met here to chalk out the joint opposition programme for the next three months. This is a Congress propaganda to project the NCP as a B-team of the BJP, he also said.

Summary: Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Saturday ridiculed the local unit of the BJP for its statement that the Union Territory would soon see the BJP forming a government.

In a sign of the party cracking the whip against its office-bearers sympathetic to Yadav over the issue, it had on Tuesday relieved its general secretary Arun Srivastav of his post, accusing him of appointing an election agent for the Rajya Sabha polls without due authorisation.

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