Congress bids for opposition unity, sends out invite for presser

New Delhi, Dec 25 (IANS) The Congress has set its eyes on opposition unity to corner the Narendra Modi government on a host of issues, sending out an invitation to other opposition parties for a joint press conference in the national capital on December 27.

The Congress move comes days after its Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking kickbacks from corporate houses.

According to informed sources, Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel has approached leaders in the Janata Dal-United, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties.

The proposed press conference is scheduled at the Constitution Club here, and not at the Congress headquarters so that it doesn’t get projected as a party event.

According to Trinamool sources, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will arrive in the national capital on Monday for Tuesday’s presser.

Leaders of Left parties and JD(U) confirmed they have been approached by the Congress but are yet to decide on attending.

Sources in the RJD and the NCP confirmed they will attend the press conference.

The aim is to give out an impression of opposition unity on the November 8 demonetisation issue.

A host of opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, had submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee on December 16, the last day of the winter session of Parliament, accusing the government of stifling the opposition’s voice and subjecting parliamentary democracy to “severe threat”.

While leaders of the TMC, RJD, JD-U and some other parties joined the Congress-led delegation, the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, NCP, DMK, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India and JD(Secular) stayed away.

The stand-off between the opposition and the government over demonetisation led to a washout of the entire winter session of Parliament. Some 16 opposition parties had united to corner the Centre on demonetisation.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on December 21 accused Modi of taking kickbacks amounting to Rs 65 crore from corporate houses during his stint as Gujarat Chief Minister and demanded an independent inquiry into the charge.

–IANS

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