Sonia Gandhi (File image)

Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with leaders of 18 opposition parties on Friday to discuss several issues.

A party leader said that besides the Congress, leaders of the TMC, NCP, DMK, Shiv Sena, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, CPI, CPI-(M), National Conference, RJD, AIUDF, VCK, Loktantrik Janata Dal, JD (S), Rashtriya Lok Dal, RSP, Kerala Congress-Mani, PDP and Indian Union Muslim League were present.

However, the Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party skipped the meeting.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Congress leaders A.K. Antony, and Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPI leader D. Raja, and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti were among those present.

During the meeting, Soren, who is also the chief of the JMM, said: “We have to struggle and resist all anti-people policies in a more cohesive manner. We have to sharpen our attacks on issues like income increase, inflation, unemployment, farmers issue, and Covid management.”

Banerjee, who is the Trinamool Congress chief, said: “We should fight the government collectively.”

She said that they must forget their internal differences to take the government head-on.

The Trinamool Congress leader also raised farmers’ issues and talked about the dictatorship of the central government.

Issues like the economic slowdown, alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pegasus spyware controversy, and the farmers’ protest were also on the agenda.

The meeting called by Sonia Gandhi is being seen as a measure taken by the Gandhi family to reassert their position as the central figures among the Opposition.

During the Monsoon Session, former party chief Rahul Gandhi had met with several leaders of the opposition over breakfast.

On the other hand, Congress leader Kapil Sibal had organised a dinner party on August 9 which was attended by several top Opposition leaders.

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