Opposition to meet on Monday

Opposition to meet on Monday

DMK president MK Stalin offers a bouquet to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the occasion of her birth anniversary, in New Delhi, on Sunday. Also seen are Congress president Rahul Gandhi, DMK leaders Kanimozhi, A Raja and others. PTI

Top Opposition leaders will hold a meeting in New Delhi on Monday, a day before the Parliament convenes for the Winter Session and counting of votes for Assembly elections to five states, to discuss future strategy to counter the Narendra Modi-led BJP.

Though it is not clear whether BSP chief Mayawati or her representative would attend, the meeting assumes significance as for the first time as DMK chief M K Stalin, AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will be attending a joint Opposition meeting for the first time.

Chandrababu had planned to hold a meeting of Opposition parties on November 22 but it was postponed as several parties were not comfortable with a meeting in the midst of election campaigning for five states.

Sources said that both the Congress and Chandrababu have invited parties for the meeting.

Stalin, whose DMK was represented in earlier meetings by senior MP Kanimozhi, will be participating in such a meeting for the first time.

On Sunday, Stalin, Kanimozhi and other senior leaders visited UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to wish her on her birthday and invite her to the unveiling of M Karunanidhi's statue in Chennai on December 16.

Opposition leaders who wished her include West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav.

After Chandrababu invited him, Kejriwal also expressed his readiness to attend the meeting.

Otherwise, Kejriwal and AAP were keeping away from joint Opposition meetings as the Congress had reservations about AAP's presence owing to its political rivalry in the national capital.

Mamata will also be attending the meeting.

Sources said there is no specific agenda for the meeting though it is likely to discuss the current political situation in the country and initiate talking points about an electoral strategy.

They will also discuss a Parliament strategy. The Opposition is likely to corner the Modi government over a variety of issues, including the dissolution of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, agrarian distress, price rise and unemployment among others.

On Monday, the government has also called the customary all-party meeting ahead of the Parliament Session.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Rajya Sabha Vice Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu have also called meetings of party leaders.