15 parties’ MPs attend Rahul’s unity breakfast; AAP, BSP, JDS keep off

Many Parliament members and floor leaders from 15 opposition parties attended a breakfast hosted by Rahul Gandhi at Constitution Club to demonstrate their unity against the government over reports of snooping using Pegasus spyware. It was followed by continuation of protests in both Houses, leading to serial adjournments of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, even as the government pushed through more bills amid the din.

Gandhi emphasised the need for “unity of opposition parties” against the BJP-RSS and an AICC spokesperson gave the breakfast gathering an over-the-top spin by calling it ‘trailer for 2024’. However, Congress turf rivals AAP, BSP and JDS declined Gandhi’s invite while satraps Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar downgraded their representation. Praful Patel and Supriya Sule from NCP and Kalyan Banerjee and Mohua Moita from Trinamool attended Gandhi’s breakfast on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge proposed a symbolic bicycle ride by MPs to Parliament to protest against fuel price. Gandhi led the ride with mostly Congress MPs and some exceptions like RJD’s Manoj Jha.

“The single motive to invite you is to say that we should unite. The more this voice unites, the more powerful it will become, and the more difficult it will become for the BJP and RSS to suppress this voice,” Gandhi said during his brief speech at the breakfast meet. Some opposition leaders criticised the government’s refusal to allow discussions in Parliament on Pegasus and other issues and rushing through bills in the House.

MPs belonging to Trinamool, DMK, NCP, Shiv Sena, JMM, SP, RJD, NC, CPI-M, CPI, RSP, IUML, KCM and LJD attended the meeting. Of the 15, the last six are from Kerala’s LDF and UDF camps. However, at the afternoon AICC briefing, spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi gave the meet a larger-than-life projection. “Today we had an excellent get together over breakfast of more than 17 (sic) parties, representing around 60% of India’s population across the board and political spectrum. This is the trailer for 2024. This shows you the new resolve and new direction.”

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