Kharge calls Opposition leaders for dinner meet; Uddhav group to stay away

While meeting is to discuss Opposition unity, cracks appeared in the Opposition with Shiv Sena (UBT) likely to skip as a mark of protest against Rahul Gandhi's ‘I am not Savarkar’ remark

Mallikarjun Kharge,
Kharge slammed Modi over the new parliament building inauguration

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has invited floor leaders of like-minded Opposition parties for a dinner meeting at his residence tonight (March 27).

According to sources close to the Congress president, the agenda of the meeting is to discuss Opposition unity beyond coordinated floor strategy in Parliament.

However, there already are cracks in the Opposition with Shiv Sena (UBT) likely to skip the meeting as a mark of protest against Rahul Gandhi’s “I am not Savarkar, I am a Gandhi” remark.

Also read: Din in Parliament; TMC joins Opposition protest, Kharge says PM has no answers

Rahul’s remark

Rahul Gandhi had made the remark while addressing the media on Saturday when he was asked if he would apologise for the statement — “why all thieves have Modi surname” — for which he has been convicted with a two-year sentence in a criminal defamation case, or for his remarks made in London on the state of India’s democracy.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and party leader Sanjay Raut had condemned Rahul Gandhi’s statement and said remarks against Savarkar will cause strain on the MVA alliance between the Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP and the Congress.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) had joined the joint Opposition protest in the morning.

Joint Opposition

Earlier, before Parliament convened on Monday morning, Kharge had held a meeting of leaders of 18 Opposition parties to discuss joint strategy on floor of the House. Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) had also attended the meeting.

Also read: Cong satyagraha: Kharge slams BJP, asks why is ruling party pained if fugitives flayed

This was for the first time in the ongoing budget session that TMC attended a meeting of Opposition parties called by Kharge. TMC in the past had avoided joining Opposition strategy meetings in which Congress was a part.

Prasun Banerjee and Jawhar Sircar represented TMC in the meeting. The party said the Opposition should be united, even though they are distancing themselves from a joint front on other issues.