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Sonia calls opposition meeting on Friday, Sharad invited

Sonia calls opposition meeting on Friday, Sharad invited

Cracks emerged in the opposition on the last day of the monsoon session as the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) skipped a joint meeting on Friday.

The meeting, attended by as many as 16 parties from the country and was aimed at taking forward the Opposition unity to the streets. Speaking about Yadav and his disagreements over Kumar's decision to join the NDA, Kumar, who was in New Delhi on Friday, said that the decision was a joint one taken by his party and Yadav was free to hold any opinion he wanted to.

Utilising the stage to criticise veteran BJP leader LK Advani, Gandhi said the veteran was opposed to the amendment but the special status was granted once Congress came to power in 2004 under the rule of UPA-I. These include demonetisation, the hasty implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), farmers' plight, rising unemployment and the political witch hunt of Opposition leaders.

NCP was, however, conspicuous by its absence, especially in the backdrop of the just concluded Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat on Tuesday where it was at logger heads with the Congress party over support to senior leader Ahmed Patel.

On Saturday, JD (U) members of the Upper House members backing Nitish met Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to hand him a letter appointing R.C.P. Singh as their leader in place of Yadav in the House. "We also thanked MPs and MLAs who voted for them", Azad told reporters. Why should we be accused of not supporting it? "Conduct any meeting; nothing can hamper us in any way". State Congress leaders believe that the NCP is moving away from opposition's fold. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury proposed that the parties should align with the people's movements on the ground, for instance like the farmers' unrest over policies of the government. However, Mr Yechury said the Left has a problem with such a programme.

Rahul Gandhi also said that the Congress is continuously working to improve the situation of employment in the country.

The party, which returned to power in May 2013 after a decade in the opposition, will contest the assembly election on the basis of its performance over the last four years, including various welfare schemes for the people across the state, he said. He also recounted how some parties had chickened out of the plan to collectively protest against demonetisations a year ago.