Signs of a rift in the Opposition ranks seemed to emerge Monday when the JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav stayed away from an Opposition strategy meeting. He later explained he had engagements in Pune.
Hours after the meeting, the Trinamool Congress stayed away from a protest demonstration by the Congress citing lack of prior notice and an overlap with Mamata’s programme in Kolkata.
The meeting discussed, among various strategies, the matter of constituting a joint Parliamentary committee. All parties except the Trinamool Congress supported it. Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia had visited the Trinamool office, apparently to invite leaders to the protest. “We did not know it was happening, nothing was mentioned in the morning meeting. Also it almost overlapped with Didi’s march in Kolkata,” said Trinamool Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien.
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The Congress dismissed the suggestion of lack of unity. “Nothing has happened to Opposition unity. The protest was not decided in advance, it was a decision taken suddenly. So we could not inform everyone. The Opposition is united,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader in Lok Sabha.
Former law minister M Veerappa Moily said, “It was a sudden decision to show solidarity to Aakrosh Diwas… For other programmes, the Opposition is united.”