Party angry at Congress charge that its MLAs ditched Ahmed Patel in Gujarat RS elections

Congress President Sonia Gandhi today convened a meeting of the Opposition parties in Delhi to forge a common platform against the Narendra Modi government but it ended by advertising further depletion in its ranks. The NCP stayed out of the meeting citing the Congress’ statement that it had betrayed the party in the just-concluded Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat.

The NCP is boycotting the meeting called by Congress, said senior NCP leader Praful Patel.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has of late been maintaining a distance from the Congress and it took some persuasion by Ahmed Patel to get him to attend the meeting convened to endorse the candidature of Meira Kumar for the post of President. Pawar was of the view that the Opposition should not put up a candidate against Ram Nath Kovind as the numbers were loaded in favour of the prime minister’s presidential pick.

After Nitish Kumar striking an alliance with the BJP, the Opposition corner was in any way looking anaemic. The NCP’s decision not to attend today’s meeting only demonstrates that there is little political heft in the Opposition side to challenge the NDA.

Anwar Ali, rebel MP of the JD(U) who attended the meeting, was later on suspended from the parliamentary party. In the JD(U) group, Sharad Yadav, another rebel against Kumar, has the support of only Anwar.