Second leg of Budget session begins Monday; Congress doubtful of Opposition unity in House

With the second leg of the Budget session slated to start on Monday, the Congress appeared apprehensive on Sunday of other Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress and the AAP not coming together to put up a united front against the government in Parliament.

At a meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is learnt to have expressed doubts that some parties may not join if the Congress convened a meeting given the changed political scenario after the Assembly election outcome.

Soon after the Assembly elections, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had exhorted “all parties that want to fight BJP should walk together”, saying that the Congress is losing its credibility and that “we cannot depend on the Congress”.

The Congress had also accused the TMC and the AAP of splitting Opposition votes in Goa.

While the AAP trounced the Congress in Punjab, it opened its account in Goa winning two seats.

At the meeting held at Sonia Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence, there was a view that some of the Opposition parties staying away from a meeting convened by the Congress will send a negative message of divisions in the Opposition camp.

Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, sources said, then suggested that the party should first informally reach out to other parties before convening a formal meeting. It was decided that Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh would informally reach out to leaders of other parties to sense their mood.

Besides Kharge, Sharma and Ramesh, the meeting was attended by senior leader Manish Tewari and floor managers Kodikunnil Suresh and Manickam Tagore. The party has decided to raise issues like the alleged delay in evacuation of Indians from Ukraine, the future of students who came back from the war-torn country, price rise, border conflict with China and unemployment, among others, in the session.

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