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Opposition parties discuss strategy to counter BJP; NCP skips meet

Opposition parties discuss strategy to counter BJP; NCP skips meet

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday skipped a meeting of Opposition parties called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the Congress suggested that the former had betrayed it in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. Since Sharad Yadav is in Patna, he may be represented by Ali Anwar Ansari. "I have spoken to Sharad Pawar ji himself and therefore would not like to go by any NCP sources", Azad said, asked about NCP sources indicating that the party is upset with Congress for not acknowledging that NCP MLAs had voted for Congress MP Ahmed Patel for his Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat.

"You are talking of two parties and not talking about the 16 parties who attended the meeting", he said.

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel, on the other hand, said they skipped the meeting because of Congress' lack of trust.

Azad said the leaders made a decision to form a small coordination committee that would talk to all parties and chalk out a common programme for the next three months.

"We are not the B-team of the Congress".

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Besides Sonia Ganhi and other top Congress leaders, representatives of the National Conference, Trinamool Congress, CPI (M) and the CPI were present at the meeting.

NCP leader Praful Patel said his party chose to boycott the meeting as the Congress was accusing it of not supporting the Ahmed Patel when its legislators had cast their votes in his favour.

Patel said the NCP is not part of alliance in Gujarat or elsewhere with the Congress, "still we supported Congress".

The meeting thanked opposition presidential candidate Meira Kumar and vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi for accepting their request to contest despite knowing that the result was likely to be unfavourable.


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