Opposition leaders to discuss prospects of anti- BJP front at today’s meet

The national capital will set the stage for a major event on Monday with all the Opposition leaders converging to discuss formation of a grand alliance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The meeting, which will be co-ordinated by Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, will be attended by heads of non-BJP parties as well as chief ministers from Kerala, Punjab and Puducherry. The leaders are expected to chalk out a future course of action for forming a non-BJP front.

“The main agenda of the meeting is to chart the future course of action for forming a non-BJP front,” a source said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are likely to attend the meet, during which the Opposition is also expected to chalk out a joint strategy for the winter session of parliament. During the meeting at the parliament house annexe, the opposition parties are expected to discuss their responses to government bills and issues related to the Rafale deal and farmers, sources said.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, NC chief Farooq Abdullah, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy are expected to attend the meeting. DMK president M K Stalin, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and LJD leader Sharad Yadav are also among those likely to attend the meeting. 

BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is unlikely to be part of the meeting, sources said, adding that he might join the anti-BJP alliance post the general election. 

BSP chief Mayawati is also unlikely to take part in the meeting, but her close aide Satish Chandra Mishra might attend it, a source said. SP president Akhilesh Yadav is likely to attend the meet, but in case he is unable to come, then senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav will be present, a party source said.

Naidu had last month met the heads of several opposition parties, including Rahul Gandhi, and termed the TDP’s alliance with the Congress a “democratic compulsion” to protect the country.

Sources said there could be pre-poll as well as post-poll alliances, taking into account the interest of each state.

“Price rise, the ill-effects of demonetisation and the GST, unemployment and threats to the Constitution will also be on the agenda of the meeting," NCP leader D P Tripathi said.

It should be noted that the meeting comes a day before the results of the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram Assembly polls are scheduled to be announced and the winter session of parliament is slated to begin.