For the first time after the crushing electoral defeat, the Congress and its allies met Tuesday to discuss the way ahead. Sources said that the Congress is likely to reach out to some of the opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, the BJD and the TRS to explore the option of coordination on the floor of Parliament.
Apart from the UPA partners, RJD chief Lalu Prasad too attended the meeting chaired by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was present too. The UPA partners decided to work more closely in Parliament, the first session of which is beginning on Wednesday. The meeting came a day after Sonia nominated Mallikarjun Kharge as the Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha.
If the Speaker recognises the Congress as the main opposition party, then Kharge would become the Leader of Opposition. Some of the alliance leaders, however, were said to be not impressed with the selection of Kharge.
The meeting discussed the election results and sources said that the leaders felt the UPA should be an aggressive opposition in Parliament without being appearing obstructionist.
After the meeting, senior Congress leader A K Antony said that the alliance wants to work more closely in Parliament. He did not divulge details, saying a detailed discussion will be held in the coming days. “Let us wait and watch,” Antony said.
“This was the first meeting. We have decided that we have to be alert about the important issues of the country. This is the start,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar said.
While the NDA has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha and the Congress can stall the government’s legislative agenda in tandem with other parties in the opposition.
Besides Pawar, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, IUML chief E Ahamed and RLD president Ajit Singh attended the meeting. Sonia is also slated to host a lunch for MPs of the alliance on June 5. The party, however, is yet to name its leader in the Rajya Sabha. Sources said that Ghulam Nabi Azad is the frontrunner for the post.