Oppn Rallies behind Rahul, Clears First Hurdle on Road to Unity

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NEW DELHI – The opposition has passed it’s first test of unity after Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as cutting across party lines even those who were not in sync with the Congress joined hands and condemned the action. They included the BRS, TMC, AAP which occupy a big opposition space and have four state governments.

Rahul Gandhi thanked the opposition for their support and said that it will give a weapon to fight the government.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “It was noted today that many opposition parties have condemned the action taken by the government unilaterally, with such a lightning speed to disqualify Shri Rahul Gandhi. We welcome this statement of all the opposition leaders and yes, there was a consensus that we should now take the job of building opposition unity in a systematic way.”

He said every day the Leader of the Opposition, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has been meeting the floor leaders of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, when Parliament is in session.

“So, we are coordinating in Parliament, now the coordination has to be outside Parliament and it is also very heartening to note that some parties, which were not part of this floor coordination in Parliament, have also now issued public statements condemning this action of disqualification of Shri Rahul Gandhi.”

The support from unexpected quarters has come as a surprise to the Congress, specially from Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi chief minister Kejriwal said that this is not only Rahul Gandhi’s fight. “This is not a fight of Rahul Gandhi or Congress, but this is a fight to save the country from a dictator and a less educated person. What is going on today is very dangerous, they want to create an environment of One Nation One Party… this is called dictatorship,” he alleged.

BRS party national president and chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao stated “Today is Black Day in the history of Indian democracy. Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Parliament is the height of Narendra Modi’s arrogance and dictatorship.”

“It is highly reproachable that the Modi government is not only abusing constitutional institutions but also using the highest democratic platform – the Parliament – for its nefarious activities.”

But the Congress has to maintain the momentum of opposition unity and reach out to leaders of the political parties in a systematic way. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury in a tweet said: “It’s condemnable that the BJP is now using the criminal defamation route to target opposition leaders and disqualify them as done with @RahulGandhi now. This comes on top of the gross misuse of ED/CBI against the opposition. Resist and defeat such authoritarian assaults,” he added.

But mere statements from the opposition will not work as the Congress in the past has blamed the TMC and the AAP for abetting the BJP Goa win and the AAP for the BJP Gujarat victory. And on the day Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the membership of the Lok Sabha, a “silent” meeting between the Janata Dal-Secular leader and former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took place. The meeting was brief, lasting just 30 minutes, and neither Banerjee nor Kumaraswamy made any comment on the proceedings.

However, this meeting comes on the heels of another meeting with Samajwadi Party head Akhilesh Yadav so the Congress has to be proactive and weigh its options with the JD(S) as Karnataka goes to the polls. However, its state president DK Shivakumar has said that the Congress will fight it alone in the state. -IANS

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