Why did the NCP skip the joint opposition meet

Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s dramatic victory in the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat has galvanised the party to organise a conclave of Opposition leaders in New Delhi to work out a plan for the 2019 general elections

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday expressed his gratitude towards JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, whose party had supported the BJP but its lone MLA voted for Patel.

Leaders of 16 opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee, Yechury, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, RJD's JPN Yadav, CPI's D Raja, SP's Naresh Agarwal, RLD's Ajit Singh among others met here to chalk out the joint opposition programme for the next three months. Within hours of Ansari marking his presence at the meeting, the JD (U) suspended him from the parliamentary party. His turnaround comes after Mrs Gandhi's party, the Congress, suggested that he had betrayed it in the recent Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. The NCP justified the decision and said its leaders were very angry.

"We are not beholden to the Congress". This is being done to damage the credentials of the party ahead of the Gujarat elections.

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The MLAs who resigned are Amit Chaudhary from Mansa, C K Raulji from Godhra, Raghavji Patel from Jamnagar (Rural), Bholabhai Gohel from Jasdan, Karamshibhai Patel from Sanand, Mahendrasinh Vaghela from Bayad and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja from Jamnagar (North) constituencies. It's also evident - based on how far the process has got in the past month or so since it was initiated - that the participants are watching the state of play in relation to their own respective state politics as all are state-level parties, barring the Congress. This is a Congress propaganda to project the NCP as a B-team of the BJP, he also said.

Asked if he believed that the Modi-led BJP can be defeated by a united opposition, the CPI (M) General Secretary said: "Defeating is later, first let us build an alternate narrative". The party, which returned to power in May 2013 after a decade in the opposition, will contest the assembly election on the basis of its performance over the last four years, including various welfare schemes for the people across the state, he said.

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