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Opposition parties start making independent plans to take on BJP in Parliament

​Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had called a meeting of opposition leaders on Wednesday to decide on the strategy in Parliament, but, it was cancelled later.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 19, 2019, 11.09 PM IST
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Sources tell ET that three parties, SP, BSP and AITC decided against attending the meeting as they want their own floor strategy in Parliament.
NEW DELHI: The setback in the Lok Sabha election has forced opposition parties to rethink their strategy on alliances. While some are still in favour of a joint fight against the BJP, a few are willing to chart their solo path going forward.

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had called a meeting of opposition leaders on Wednesday to decide on the strategy in Parliament, but, it was cancelled later. Sources tell ET that three parties, SP, BSP and AITC decided against attending the meeting as they want their own floor strategy in Parliament.

“There is no election nearby and there is no need of a joint opposition strategy. We will take a call as and when it is needed,” said an SP leader. The division in opposition unity began with BSP parting ways with the SP. “As of now, we have decided to go alone in the upcoming by-elections,” BSP supremo Mayawati had said on June 3, when she announced the break up.

RLD, the third party in alliance, however, says they would remain in alliance with SP and seat sharing will be discussed with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. “Our alliance with SP is intact and we would like Congress to join us,” says RLD UP president Masood Ahmad.

Congress, which is seeking opposition unity in Parliament, is singing a different tune when it comes to the states. In West Bengal, Congress had contested the Lok Sabha elections alone and state leaders are of the view that party should continue to do so in future.

Congress has made West Bengal MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. Chowdhury is one of strong opponents of AITC and he has been blaming Trinamool for luring Congress MLAs. Just before the Lok Sabha elections, Chowdhury was removed as state Congress president and one of the reasons was his strong opposition to Trinamool.

Now, by promoting him to the leader of the party in the lower house, Congress is signaling a different approach going forward. In Bihar, there is strong demands from state leaders to leave longtime ally RJD and chart a solo path. Post Lok Sabha elections, two meetings, one of Congress district presidents and another of MLAs, have taken place in Bihar.

Sources tell ET that several leaders have expressed their views to contest alone in order to rebuild the party in the state. “A section of voters who want to vote us don’t come to us only because we are an RJD ally,” said a Bihar Congress MLA.

“There are different opinions in the party and we are collecting all of them. It will be presented before the high command and they would take a decision,” said Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha. RJD, on the other hand, wants the alliance to stay and is even willing to welcome JDU, if it comes.

“The anti-BJP parties must stay together and the smaller parties should merge itself into one,” says senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

“JDU should also be welcomed in to the alliance and no one can ignore Congress in the larger national role.” Singh is of the view that a similar alliance should be formed in UP with Congress included in it.
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