Opposition to take on government on economy, jobs

enior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad with RLD's Ajit Singh, DMK's T R Balu and senior leader Sharad Yadav during a press conference after a meeting of some like-minded opposition parties, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Opposition parties on Monday decided to fight the ruling BJP on unemployment, agrarian crisis and economy unitedly inside and outside the Parliament.

The decision was taken at a meeting of leaders of 13 Opposition parties chaired by Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The meeting, however, did not see the attendance of leaders from the SP, the AAP, the BSP and the NCP.

The meeting, which was attended by LJD patron Sharad Yadav, DMK's T R Balu, RLD chief Ajit Singh and CPI general secretary D Raja among others, also discussed the latest episode involving Israeli spy software Pegasus and decided to approach President Ram Nath Kovind.

A memorandum was signed by leaders present at the meeting and it was decided to seek the President's appointment to hand it over to him.

Others who attended the meeting included Ahmed Patel, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Rajiv Shukla (all Congress), Upendra Kushwaha (RLSP), D Kupendra Reddy (JDS), Manoj Jha (RJD), Nadimul Haque (TMC), T K Rangarajan (CPM), Binoy Viswam (CPI), PK Kunhalikutty (IUML), Jose K Mani (KCM) and Shatrujeet Singh (RSP).

Another issue on the table was Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which the parties felt was against the interests of India.

India on Monday evening announced that it had opted out of the RCEP.

Though there will be no joint protests outside Parliament as parties have individual protests, sources said, there will be a joint fight inside the Parliament.

At the meeting, CPM and CPI leaders said that they would have to consult their parties before agreeing to a joint protest outside Parliament.

Addressing the press conference after the around 90-minute meeting, Azad said that the parties will sit together later after the Winter Session of Parliament ends and decide on joint protests.

He said that the parties expressed concern about the situation the country is going through where all citizens are troubled. "The people have no money but there is no dearth of money for the BJP," Azad said.

He said that the unemployment and job loss as well as economic situation in the country was a matter of concern.

"The NSSO data showed that unemployment was at the highest in 45 years. People are worried that India's unemployment rate is double than the world average. The private investment is the lowest in 16 years. We have not seen such an insensitive government in the past 70 years," he said.

Sharad Yadav said that the results of Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections where BJP could not perform as it expected shows that people are against it.

"People have shown us the way. We should fight this government," he said.

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