Rahul, Mamata speak of common agenda, pre-poll ties

Day of hectic activity with AAP rally & meet at Pawar’s home

February 13, 2019 10:41 pm | Updated February 14, 2019 12:45 am IST - NEW DELHI

Coming together: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others at the ‘Save Democracy' rally in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Coming together: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others at the ‘Save Democracy' rally in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Sending a message to voters, and to each other, leaders of Opposition parties gathered here at the Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, and said they were willing to compromise to defeat the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha election.

Later in the evening, Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined them at NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s residence.

After the meeting, Mr. Gandhi said: “We agreed that the principal target for all of us is to wipe out the assault on Indian institutions being carried out by Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS. We agreed to start a conversation about a common minimum programme and we have a commitment that we are all going to work together to defeat the BJP.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We will work together at the national level. We will have a common minimum agenda. We will have a pre-poll alliance.” “Whatever fight we have with the Congress and the CPI(M), will be in the State. At the national level, we will be united. Let them fight against me, I don’t mind, but for the greater interest of the nation, I am ready to sacrifice my life, my party, everything,” she said.

At the “Remove dictatorship, save democracy” rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party, Ms. Banerjee said the Opposition would be united in contesting the election.

In a first, the Congress participated in an AAP-hosted event, with former Union Minister Anand Sharma speaking at the rally.

“The Congress is committed to an understanding with all parties on securing democracy, protecting the Constitution and upholding the dignity of institutions. My participation at today’s event has to be seen in this context,” Mr. Sharma told The Hindu .

Party sources said Mr. Sharma’s presence at the AAP-initiated event was no signal of an alliance between the parties. “The Congress will be contesting against several parties at the State level but still seeks the possibility of an understanding with them at the national level,” a Congress source said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, Mr. Pawar, Loktantrik Janta Dal leader Sharad Yadav and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah also spoke.

Mr. Sharma said: “There may be complicated matters, but we all have come together on this platform ... In some States, there is an understanding, in some, there isn’t. But, we should try to have an understanding as much as possible.”

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