New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Noting that the monsoon session was marked by determined unity of opposition parties, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that the ultimate goal is defeating the BJP-led government in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and called for systematic planning and working with the single-minded objective for the purpose.

Sonia Gandhi, who chaired a meeting of 19 opposition parties, 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.

"The ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for which we have to begin to plan systematically with the single-minded objective of giving to our country a government that believes in the values of the freedom movement and in the principles and provisions of our Constitution," she said.

"This is a challenge, but together we can and must rise to it because there is simply no alternative to working cohesively together. We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them," she added. Sonia Gandhi expressed confidence that the opposition unity will be sustained in future sessions of parliament as well but said "the larger political battle has to be fought outside it".

Leaders from 19 opposition parties discussed the strategy of the opposition and the roadmap for the future at the meeting held through video conferencing.

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. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Khadge, KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala also attended it.

The Congress chief said that some opposition leaders have taken up matters of public importance with the Prime Minister directly. "I understand that Sharad Pawarji brought to his attention how the new Ministry of Cooperation, led by Home Minister himself, is blatant interference in the Constitutional rights and responsibilities of state governments. Mamata ji and Uddhav Thackeray ji emphasized the discrimination against non-BJP ruled states in vaccine supply, as have some other chief ministers," she said.

"On behalf of Congress Party, I have also written to the Prime Minister on many occasions to highlight the need for urgent measures such as direct cash support, especially to those whose livelihoods have been badly affected," she added.

In her remarks, Sonia Gandhi said the government was to blame for the "complete washout" of the monsoon session of Parliament and accused the government of being "obstinate and arrogant" over opposition demands including probe into alleged surveillance through Pegasus spyware.

"The recent Monsoon session of Parliament was a complete washout again entirely due to the Government's obstinate and arrogant unwillingness to discuss and debate urgent issues of public importance. These include the Pegasus snooping scandal that affects each and every citizen, the repeal of the three anti-farmer laws- the agitation of farmers that has been going on for the past nine months, the price rise of essential commodities and the continuing assault on federalism and the institutions of our democracy.

"In spite of this, the session was marked by the determined unity that all Opposition parties demonstrated for over twenty days in both the houses. We functioned in a coordinated manner with daily discussions among our floor leaders," she said.


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan