Sonia holds meet with Oppn leaders over Parl strategy, Pawar, Raut in attendance

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Sena MP Sanjay Raut said a similar meeting will be on Wednesday as well. “Our main agenda was Opposition unity in a state-wise manner,” he added.

Senior Opposition leaders on Tuesday met at Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi’s residence to discuss a joint strategy in Parliament during the ongoing winter session.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, J&K National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and DMK leader TR Baalu were among the leaders who met Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge also attended the meeting.

Raut later said a similar meeting will be on Wednesday as well. “Our main agenda was Opposition unity in a state-wise manner. This was the first meeting. We’ll meet again tomorrow. Sharad Pawar will also be there,” the Sena MP was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Regarding the Parliament logjam over suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs and the government asking them to express regret over the matter, Raut said, “No apologies, no regrets, we will fight.”

Abdullah said the meeting was about the country. “We talked about how we can work together and move forward and how we can take the country out of this difficulty. A good agreement has been formed among us,” he added.

News agency PTI quoted sources as saying that the Congress chief had invited Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray and DMK’s MK Stalin. Both deputed their leaders, Raut and Baalu, respectively.

Earlier in the day, opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha held a protest march from the Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex to Vijay Chowk with Rahul Gandhi alleging that the Opposition is not being allowed to raise issues in Parliament, which is now merely a building and a museum.

“Wherever the Opposition is trying to raise issues, they are suppressed. The government does not allow us to raise issues. This is the murder of democracy. We want to raise issues against the government, but we are not allowed to do so,” he told reporters.

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