Time to rise above compulsions: Sonia tells opposition leaders

Sonia Gandhi held a virtual meeting with leaders from 19 parties on Friday | File Photo

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Friday urged opposition parties to “plan systematically” for the 2024 national election and “rise above compulsions” to work unitedly and defeat the NDA government.

“We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them,” she said at a 19-party meeting.

Among those present at the virtual meeting were NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her counterparts from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, Uddhav Thackeray and MK Stalin. Leaders of the AAP, BSP and SP were not present.

The meeting was part of the Congress leadership’s efforts to unite various parties on key issues before the country. 

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The 2024 polls is “the ultimate goal”, Sonia said, adding: “This is a challenge, but together we can and must rise to it because there is simply no alternative to working cohesively together.”

She urged opposition parties to begin to plan “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”.

“The 75th anniversary of India’s independence is indeed the most appropriate occasion for us to reaffirm our individual and collective resolve. Let me say for its part, the Indian National Congress will not be found wanting,” she said.

Sonia said the session was marked by the “determined unity” that all opposition parties demonstrated for over 20 days in both houses of Parliament. “We functioned in a coordinated manner with daily discussions among our floor leaders… I am confident that this unity will be sustained in future sessions of Parliament as well. But the larger political battle has to be fought outside it,” she said, referring to the general election.

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