In a major embarrassment for the Indian National Congress, majority of the opposition parties skipped the Sonia-led opposition meet on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the subsequent violence. In a major blow to the claims of opposition unity, AAP, TMC, SS and BSP decided to skip the Congress-led opposition meet. Apart from the NCP, SP and DMK, inconsequential parties like IUML, Left, RJD, SP and AUDF attended the meet.
The meeting, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was attended by leaders of opposition parties like Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Sharad Yadav, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, besides Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present.
BSP Chief Mayawati while continuing her opposition to the CAA and NRC hit out at the Congress for poaching her MLAs despite the fact that the BSP offered outside support to Congress in Rajasthan. Mayawati tweeted on Monday, “Even after the BSP provided outside support to the Congress-led Rajasthan Government, they have, for the second time, influenced BSP MLAs to join their party, which is unfaithful. In such a situation, joining a meeting led by the Congress leadership will be demoralising the party people in Rajasthan, and that is why BSP will not joining the meeting called by the Congress.”
Mamata has led one of the most vociferous campaigns against the CAA as she virtually surrendered West Bengal to the violent mob as they gleefully plundered public property. Unsurprisingly, questions were raised that why would Mamata not attend the opposition meet on CAA, keeping in mind the fact that such a meeting was indeed her suggestion? Banerjee accusing the Congress of slowing down West Bengal during the Bharat Bandh said, “What happened yesterday in the state (during the labour strike) — it is no more possible for me to attend the meeting anymore. I was the first to launch an Andolan (movement) against CAA, NRC,” she said. “What the Left and the Congress are doing in the name of the CAA-NRC is not a movement but vandalism”.
As usual, the Aam Aadmi Party played the victim card as it insinuated that the party wasn’t invited for the meet. AAP’s Sanjay Singh said, “We have no information about any such meeting. So, it makes no sense to attend a meeting we have no information about.” It seems that the party is worried over the optics keeping in mind the upcoming Delhi elections.
The Shiv Sena’s differing stand on important issues has even left its own cadre confused as Uddhav has seemingly taken Kejriwal’s odd-even scheme to another level as on odd days he supports the BJP and on even days he supports the Congress. In Lok Sabha, the Shiv Sena voted for the CAA whereas in Rajya Sabha it walked out. The monkey balancing clearly signals that Uddhav’s only loyalty is to the CM’s chair and nothing else and in no way can the Opposition bank on the Shiv Sena who keeps changing its colours like a chameleon.
Congress finds itself increasingly isolated in the opposition. Even during the abrogation of Article 370, certain opposition parties including the BSP supported the government’s move, thus isolating the party. Before the 2019 General elections, the Congress tried its best to project Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate in case the opposition came to power, but Mayawati and Mamata had different plans.
The Indian National Congress finds itself at the same place before the 2019 general elections. The Congress-led opposition unity has been hogwash and an abject failure.