Mamata Banerjee floated idea of forming core group to formulate strategies to counter BJP in 2024: LJD chief Sharad Yadav

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Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Friday. [Photo/ANI]
Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Friday. [Photo/ANI]

New Delhi [India], August 21 (ANI): In a virtual meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee floated the idea of forming a core group to formulate strategies to counter Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and to further strengthen opposition unity, informed Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) Chief Sharad Yadav.

Speaking to ANI after the meeting, Yadav said, "Concerns were raised over how all institutions are supporting one party (BJP). Mamata Banerjee floated the idea of forming a core group for Opposition unity against BJP, whose meeting should be held every three-four days."

"Congress is the largest party (in Opposition) and it's obvious that either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi will chair the core group (for Opposition unity against BJP). I believe this will be everyone's suggestion who participated in today's meeting," added Yadav.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of 18 other political parties on Friday launched a strong attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government accusing it of "destruction of the economy" and demanded Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the use of Pegasus Spyware, speeding up of COVID-19 vaccination, free cash transfers of Rs 7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket, repeal of three farm laws and compulsory guarantee of MSP to farmers.

In a joint statement after a meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi, the leaders said they will jointly organize protest actions all over the country from September 20 to 30.

The leaders condemned the manner in which the Central government and the ruling party disrupted the monsoon session of Parliament and said unprecedented scenes were witnessed "where MPs, including women MPs, were injured by Marshalls deployed to disrupt Opposition protests".

The leaders demanded "withdraw of unprecedented hikes in central excise duties on petrol and diesel, "reversal of the unbridled privatisation of the public sector".

Seeking release all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, the leaders sought restoration of full statehood including Jammu and Kashmir cadre of central services and free and fair election at the earliest.

They demanded the release of all political prisoners, including those under draconian UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case and anti-CAA protests.

The leaders also sought a probe into the Rafale deal, asking why the old deal made during the UPA government was cancelled.

Noting that the government will not be able to achieve full vaccination against COVID-19 by the end of the year, the opposition leaders asked the government to "augment all vaccine production capabilities in India, procure vaccines globally and speed up the free universal mass vaccination drive immediately".

In her opening remarks, Sonia Gandhi said that the ultimate goal is defeating the BJP-led government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and called for systematic planning and working with the single-minded objective for the purpose.

She called for collectively rising to the challenge of opposition unity, saying there is no alternative to working cohesively and the time has come for rising above compulsions in the national interest.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP's Mehbooba Mufti and RJD' Tejashwi Yadav were among those who attended the meeting. (ANI)

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