Budget session to resume tomorrow; Congress unsure of Opposition unity
The second leg of the Parliament's Budget session of Parliament will begin on Monday. While the Opposition is expected to target the Modi government on the issues of unemployment and evacuation of Indians from Ukraine, the Congress believes some parties may not present a united front. The apprehension comes in wake of the Congress' dismal performance in the recently concluded elections in five states.
- Soon after the assembly elections, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee said that Congress is losing credibility and "we cannot rely on the Congress."
- Congress had, in turn, accused the TMC and AAP of splitting Opposition votes in Goa.
- Notably, AAP easily defeated Congress in Punjab and made its presence felt in Goa by capturing two seats.
A Parliamentary strategy group meeting was called by the party's interim president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday to discuss the recent poll debacle. As per an Indian Express report, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge expressed doubts that certain parties may not join Congress in the Opposition due to the altered political landscape following the Assembly election results in five states.
Anand Sharma, the party's deputy in Rajya Sabha, then advised reaching out to other parties informally before organizing a formal meeting, The Indian Express report cited sources as saying. The responsibility was reportedly given to Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh.
The meeting also included senior leaders Manish Tewari and floor managers Kodikunnil Suresh and Manickam Tagore, besides Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, and Jairam Ramesh. The leaders also agreed to raise issues such as the alleged delay in the evacuation of Indians from Ukraine, the future of students who returned from the war-torn nation, decrease in interest rate for provident fund, border frictions, and unemployment.
Sonia Gandhi also convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which comes days after her party suffered a crushing defeat in the recently concluded assembly elections in five states. The meetings discussed the poll performance and future plans in other states. However, a few top leaders, including former PM Manmohan Singh and ex-defence minister AK Antony, skipped the meeting.
The results of the five assembly elections have shocked Congress as it was routed in all five states. The party had hoped to do well in order to resurrect its prospects for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It was also hopeful to fend off the emerging challenge from AAP and TMC to replace it as the fulcrum of anti-BJP politics in the country.