2019 Lok Sabha polls: Rahul, Mamata to attend meeting of opposition parties on Aug 30

2019 Lok Sabha polls: Rahul, Mamata to attend meeting of opposition parties on Aug 30
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New Delhi: West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, one of the key movers in the Opposition-unity effort against the ruling BJP will be back in the capital in the last week of August, as the parties have planned a meeting of the “federal front” with Congress president Rahul Gandhi participating, to decide on strategy to take on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The meeting of the 17-odd parties has been slated for August 30. Banerjee is expected to be here by the August 28, as the parties are also planning to take a joint delegation to the Election Commission around that time, with a memorandum to insist on returning to ballot papers for the 2019 polls, instead of using the electronic voting machines (EVMs), which has been in regular use for parliamentary elections since the 2004 Lok Sabha. The draft for the memorandum to the EC, has already been prepared and senior Congress leaders are fine-tuning it with inputs from other parties and it will be vetted by all the parties who will sign it and take it to the EC.
With a slew of assembly elections coming up at the end of the year, the campaign mode is expected to set in as soon as the festival season gets over in October. While the battles in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh are essentially between BJP and Congress, with some other parties like Mayawati’s BSP being a smaller player there, it is to be seen whether other parties or party leaders are roped in, to campaign for opposition unity in those states, as Banerjee had suggested for Gujarat assembly polls that Congress had not responded to.
Apart from the issue of EVMs being manipulated by the incumbent government, the Opposition parties will also decide on issues that they plan to raise together in a big way across the country against the Modi government, like the Rafael deal and the NRC in Assam.
Congress is expected to lead the charge against the government on the Rafael deal as Rahul Gandhi has briefed state party leaders on Saturday to hold two weeks of campaign on the issue in all the states through rallies, street-corner meetings, local processions, etc, on the basis of documents that have been given and to ensure that nobody anywhere in the country sings out of tune on this, between August 25 and September 14.
On the National Register for Citizens and amending the Citizenship Act, the charge has been led by the TMC chief while she was here during the monsoon session, and she spoke to all the other parties to take up the cause, as the exercise is turning out to be a divisive issue across states, since the draft register has been created. Other parties including an initially reluctant Congress finally joined the campaign against the NRC which has already threatened 40 lakh people of being displaced.
At the joint meeting here on August 30, it will be worked out on how the various parties will participate in national issues and state-related issues.