Sonia Gandhi calls opposition meet for joint action

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This was the first meeting of opposition parties after Nitish Kumar's exit, called ostensibly to draw up a joint action plan to take on the Modi government.

Comparing the work done by the Congress with the BJP in the state, he said, "We have invested the same amount of money in three months as BJP had in five years". As a matter of abundant caution, these sources said, Mr. Patel had thanked both the NCP and the JD-U.

The meeting, attended by as many as 16 parties from the country and was aimed at taking forward the Opposition unity to the streets.

NCP was, however, conspicuous by its absence, especially in the backdrop of the just concluded Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat on Tuesday where it was at logger heads with the Congress party over support to senior leader Ahmed Patel. Patel won by one vote.

Though the Congress and the NCP have been partners at the Centre and in Maharashtra, there is a trust deficit between the two parties. It is hard to predict his political moves as he has a tendency to keep his friends and foes constantly on tenterhooks.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee held a rally felicitating Rahul Gandhi for the amendment introduced to Article 371 (J) providing special status for Hyderabad Karnataka region, during the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre.

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Accusing the NDA Central government of making hollow and false promises but not delivering them, Gandhi said the Congress always fulfilled the promises it made in its election manifestos.

The meeting is likely to discuss the opposition rally called by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Patna on August 27, which will target the newly-formed BJP-JD-U alliance in Bihar under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar had been a chief advocate of opposition unity and was seen as the most credible face of this camp.

JD (U) MP Ali Anwar's presence gave a feeling that the Bihar ruling party is on the verge of a split.

West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to attend the meeting. She has been the longest serving Congress president in the 125-year history of the party after being re-elected for the fourth time in September 2010.

In her statement, Sonia Gandhi said that her heart goes out to the families of the innocent children who fell prey to "gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on the part of the authorities".

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