Leaders of 18 opposition parties attended a strategy meeting at Congress president and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence and discussed the way forward. Former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were also present in the meeting.
Leaders of the Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Bharat Rashtra Samithi attended the meeting, which was followed by a dinner. The Trinamool Congress, which has so far stayed away from the Opposition’s protests, joined the sit-in at Vijay Chowk in the morning.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was seen wearing a black scarf while other members of her party wore black shirts. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was wearing a black kurta.
In the morning, MPs of various opposition parties met at the Parliament Complex to discuss a strategy. Leaders from DMK, Samajwadi Party, JD(U), BRS, CPI(M), CPI, RJD, NCP, IUML, MDMK, Kerala Congress, TMC, RSP, AAP, NC and Shiv Sena (UBT), among others, met at Kharge’s chamber.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said they did not attend the meeting in protest against Rahul Gandhi’s “unacceptable” remarks against V D Savarkar. Speaking in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on Sunday, Thackeray said that criticism of Savarkar will not be tolerated.
“The Shiv Sena has been with Gandhi in his fight to save democracy. Sanjay Raut (MP) walked with Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. But insults to Savarkar will not be tolerated. Savarkar’s sacrifice can be read about. I publicly say that Savarkar is a God-like personality for us,” Thackeray said.
In response, chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis dared him to quit the Maha Vikas Aghadi, of which the Congress is part.
“News reports say that Thackeray has given a hollow caution to Gandhi. But, in fact, when the budget session was being conducted, his (Thackeray’s) legislators kept silent when Gandhi insulted Savarkar. His legislators wore black badges to protest Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha, which happened in tune with the law of the land. It turned out to be the height of surrender by them (Thackeray’s party). If he is courageous, he should exit the MVA,” said Shinde.
The chief minister also announced that his party, the Shiv Sena, and BJP, will together organise Savarkar Gaurav Yatra in the state to condemn Gandhi and celebrate Savarkar’s contribution to the country’s freedom struggle.
The Congress, however, has said that the MVA is intact despite the differences. State Congress chief Nana Patole said, “I am aware of Uddhav Thackeray’s reaction on comments made by Rahul Gandhi on Savarkar. I am sure Rahul Gandhi and Uddhav Thackeray will discuss the Savarkar issue. MVA is intact; Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP will unitedly fight to save democracy and the Constitution,” said Patole. He added, “Congress walks along with people from all castes.”
With inputs from News18