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Leaders of only 8 parties attended finale of Bharat Jodo Yatra

The absence of a section of leaders like Mamata is seen as their reluctance to accede to a pre-eminent position in the Opposition ranks to Congress and Rahul
Last Updated : 30 January 2023, 15:08 IST

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Leaders from only eight out of 23 parties invited by the Congress attended the grand finale of the Bharat Jodo Yatra here though the party refused to read too much into it while insisting that the Opposition is united in the fight against the RSS and the BJP.

Except for CPI General Secretary D Raja, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, no party chiefs or top leaders attended the event at Sher-I-Kashmir stadium here while BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav, who is reported to be not in good relations with his party chief Mayawati, made it to the Jammu and Kashmir capital for the event.

Besides CPI, National Conference and PDP, the other parties which sent representatives included DMK (Tiruchi Siva), RSP (NK Premachandran) and Muslim League (K Navas Kani)Leaders of VCK and JMM also attended the meeting.

Also Read | Knee pain, children, T-shirt, Rahul recollects anecdotes from Bharat Jodo Yatra

While JD(S)’s HD Deve Gowda and JD(U)’s Rajiv Ranjan ‘Lalan’ Singh had written to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge explaining their inability to attend the function, leaders of Trinamool Congress, RJD, Samajwadi Party and CPI(M) kept away from the meeting.

Those who did not attend the meeting also included Shiv Sena (Thackeray), NCP, TDP, BSP, RLSP, HAM, MDMK and Kerala Congress. Some of the parties, Congress leaders said, had informed them about their inability to attend. Leaders of NCP and Shiv Sena (Thackeray) also did not make it to the event.

The absence of top leaders like Sitaram Yechury, Akhilesh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Tejashwi Yadav took the sheen out of the rally, which was described as a show of strength by the Opposition and an intent to move ahead with a joint strategy to take on the BJP in the 2024 elections.

The absence of a section of leaders like Mamata is also seen as their reluctance to accede to a pre-eminent position in the Opposition ranks to Congress and Rahul.

While JD(U) and JD(S) sent an “all the best” to Congress on the yatra, both the parties did not bother to send even a junior leader. Similarly, the CPI(M)’s absence also comes soon after it entered into an alliance in Tripura. Incidentally, the CPI(M) also attended a rally called by BRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Congress had refused to invite AAP, BRS, YSR Congress, AIUDF and Akali Dal, claiming that their political actions were of the nature of helping the BJP. None of these parties also accept Congress’ leadership in the Opposition.

On Sunday, Rahul had sought to downplay the reluctance of senior Opposition leaders to join the programme, saying it is wrong to suggest that there is no unity among the Opposition while acknowledging that there are "differences" among them.

"On what basis are you saying that the Opposition is divided. Opposition unity comes through negotiations, after talks and an alternative vision. To say it is divided is wrong. It is true that there are differences among the Opposition and discussions take place but the opposition will fight together this battle of ideologies in which on one side there is the BJP and RSS and on the other side are forces opposing them," he said.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said he did not think it was a "setback" that certain leaders are not attending the rally, as they may have other preoccupations. He "made it absolutely clear" that the January 30 rally was "not a coalition building exercise" and that it could "presumably" begin soon. (ENDS)

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Published 30 January 2023, 15:08 IST

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