New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday led a meeting of MPs from Opposition parties to unite over key issues such as the Parliament strategy to discuss Pegasus hacking row, fuel price rise, and cornering the government over deaths during the second Covid wave.
At the breakfast meeting, Gandhi spoke of the need for Opposition parties to work “on a foundation of unity.”
The Congress leader also tweeted pictures from the meeting.
One priority- our country, our people.
एकमात्र प्राथमिकता- हमारा देश, हमारे देशवासी। pic.twitter.com/NkyfGaYRY8
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 3, 2021
“We have slightly different perspectives of the world, we come from different states, different ideas. But I think we should develop a foundation of unity,” Gandhi is learnt to have said.
“And then within that unity, we can have a few discussions and arguments where we can disagree with each other. But we have to work on the principles of that unity,” Gandhi told the MPs during the meeting.
The Parliament has been witnessing a near-deadlock for over two weeks now, following disruptions caused by the Opposition over the lack of discussion on the Pegasus issue. The monsoon session began on 19 July.
Gandhi is also learnt to have told the Opposition MPs and that together they constitute and represent “60 per cent of India”. He was referring to the fact that the BJP-led NDA won almost 38 per cent of the votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said that Gandhi spoke of how by not allowing the discussion in the Parliament, the government is “actually insulting 60 per cent of the country.”
MPs present at the meeting included those from the DMK, NCP, Shiv Sena, RJD, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, RSP, KCM, JMM, National Conference, TMC, and the LJD.
Cycling to parliament over fuel rise
At the meeting, Gandhi proposed the idea of riding a cycle to Parliament to protest against the fuel price hike.
“I don’t know if many of you would like to do it or not, and it’s completely up to you. The citizens of India are struggling because of the fuel rise, and I thought if we can go from here to the Parliament on cycles, it would have an interesting impact. And people would see the opposition feels their pain,” Gandhi said, imploring the other MPs to ride a cycle to the parliament, “only if they are comfortable.”
Following the meeting, Gandhi and some other MPs rode a cycle to the Parliament.
This comes a week after Gandhi reached Parliament on a tractor to protest against the three contentious farm laws.
Last week, the Congress leader also held a joint press conference with other Opposition leaders on the Pegasus issue.
Besides Gandhi, Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge also addressed the Opposition MPs over the need to come up with a strategy to challenge the government on various fronts — innovatively.
The MPs also discussed the possibility of holding a ‘mock Parliament’ — a parallel discussion outside the Parliament building, where issues like Pegasus will be discussed at length.