The opposition parties will discuss the plight of migrant workers and the changes in labour laws by some BJP-ruled states.
Opposition meeting: Opposition parties are scheduled to unite on Friday via video conferencing to discuss the prevailing situation in the country due to coronavirus-induced lockdown. A total of 18 parties have been invited to participate in the meet which will be chaired by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.
According to the Congress party, the agenda of the meeting of the like-minded parties will be to discuss the plight of migrant workers and the changes in labour laws by some BJP-ruled states. The meeting, to be held at 3 pm, will also discuss the government’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic package.
Around 16 opposition parties have agreed to participate in the meeting. The Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party have not yet confirmed their participation.
Interestingly, the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray has confirmed that it will participate in the meet. This would be perhaps the first time when the Sena will take part in such a meet. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut will attend the meeting.
The Shiv Sena, Congress and the NCP share power in Maharashtra. The alliance government is headed by Sena president Uddhav who parted ways with BJP last year following a squabble over the CM’s chair. Uddhav had met Sonia for the first time in February, months after the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government was formed in Maharashtra.
Earlier in January, the Shiv Sena had skipped an opposition parties meeting called by the Congress on the Citizenship Amendment Act. The party had cited ‘miscommunication’ as a reason between the two parties for failing to register its presence in the meet. However, two days later, Uddhav’s son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray had met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.
While Friday’s meeting is being called to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus situation and migrants issue, a report in The Indian Express said Shiv Sena was yet to decide on the issues that will be taken up in the meeting.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee has also confirmed that she will attend the virtual meet. “Yes, there will be a meeting of opposition parties on Friday evening through videoconferencing to discuss the present COVID situation and the lockdown impact. I will be there,” she said.
Other opposition parties that will attend the meeting include MK Stalin’s DMK, the Left parties, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party and others.