Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was speaking after a meeting of opposition parties trying to forge an anti-BJP alliance, which the SP and BSP skipped.
New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday linked the resignation of RBI governor Urjit Patel to the BJP and RSS pushing their agenda, which he said forced Patel to put in his papers.
However, Gandhi added that at last, institutions had begun standing up to the BJP.
At a meeting called to discuss the possibility of stitching a non-BJP alliance in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, opposition parties also discussed Patel’s resignation. Gandhi termed it a productive meeting, and said the opposition will work together to counter the BJP and RSS.
“We had a very productive meeting, and in the middle of the meeting, we were told that the RSS-BJP agenda is progressing further, and that the RBI chief has resigned because he can no longer work with the current government,” Gandhi said after the meeting.
“There was consensus in the room that we have to stop the BJP’s assault on our institutions, stop the assault on the CBI, on the RBI, on the Election Commission, on all institutions, and on the Constitution.”
The meeting, called a day before the assembly election results are announced in five states, and ahead of Parliament’s winter session, saw leaders from the Congress, TDP, NCP, Trinamool Congress, DMK, AAP and National Conference in attendance.
However, despite the opposition’s attempts to put up a united front, cracks have already started appearing. Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party stayed away from Monday’s meeting, indicating some fault lines in the incipient anti-BJP alliance.
A senior SP leader cited a prior engagement as Yadav’s reason for skipping the meeting. “We are on the same page when it comes to forging a non-BJP alliance. However, we are assessing the situation right now and will make our position clear only after tomorrow,” the leader said.
According to sources, the SP, BSP and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal have all but decided to forge an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, but the Congress is not on board. They said the three parties are not in favour of giving too many seats to the Congress, and due to this, an alliance with the grand old party seems almost impossible.
The BSP had already ditched the Congress in the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly polls.
Asked about their absence, Gandhi replied: “This is a process. And as you can see, this process is bringing together everybody. It is going to be carried out in an open, friendly and respectful manner. The voices in this room are the voices of opposition in this country, and we respect every single one of them, regardless of how big or small they are.”
TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, meanwhile, said some parties are outside and have to be persuaded.
A senior leader who attended the meeting but did not wish to be identified, said the issue had been discussed at the meeting.
“Opposition leaders said all efforts should be made to reach out to them and bring them to the table,” the leader said.
AAP attends for the first time
This is the third such meeting of opposition leaders in Delhi since October, but it was the first time the Aam Aadmi Party attended it.
Party sources, however, hastened to clarify that it should not be seen in the context of any potential alliance in Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections.