New Delhi: UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, N. Chandrababu Naidu and Arvind Kejriwal, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and DMK leader M.K. Stalin were among senior opposition leaders who attended a meeting on Monday to discuss ways to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year.
TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chadrababu Naidu had taken the initiative to call the meeting, a day ahead of the start of winter session of Parliament and the declaration of Assembly election results in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana — seen as a trendsetter for general elections.
Those present also included Janata Dal-Secular leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, CPI-M General Secretary Sitram Yechury and Nationalist Congress Party’s Praful Patel.
Others who attended were All India United Democratic Front’s Badruddin Azmal, Muslim League’s P.K. Kulhanikutty, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)’s Babulal Marandi, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Ajit Singh, Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Sharad Yadav, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, CPI’s D. Raja, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premchandran and Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Jitan Ram Manjhi.
The meeting is seen as part of efforts by disparate opposition parties to unitedly take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance inside and outside Parliament. Besides Chandrababu Naidu, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is a key advocate of opposition unity. Kejriwal heads the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not attend the meeting.