Opposition leaders meet in Bengaluru, all eyes on Sonia’s role in today’s conclave

With Sonia playing a key role in the decision-making body of Congress, it would enable the Grand Old Party to take a call on many issues.
DCM DK Shivakumar welcomeing UPA President Sonia Gandhi and KPCC President Mallikarjun Kharge at HAL Airport with bouquets, who arrived in Bangalore to attend the meeting of opposition leaders.
DCM DK Shivakumar welcomeing UPA President Sonia Gandhi and KPCC President Mallikarjun Kharge at HAL Airport with bouquets, who arrived in Bangalore to attend the meeting of opposition leaders.

BENGALURU: The opposition parties’ conclave in Bengaluru is expected to come out with some landmark decisions in the presence of former AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

With Sonia playing a key role in the decision-making body of Congress, it would enable the Grand-Old Party to take a call on many issues, including seat-sharing with regional parties and prepare common programmes, to face the 2024 Lok Sabha elections together. 

Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti at
the meeting, in Bengaluru on Monday
| PTI

Her absence would have been a setback for AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Rahul Gandhi in articulating the party’s stand on various issues and taking quick decisions. As United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson for 15 years, Sonia knows the art of taking the allies together and her rich experience is expected to help opposition parties to arrive at a consensus and prepare a roadmap for LS elections.

The Congress has to be flexible in sharing seats in states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD and JDU have a strong presence. In Gujarat too, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which managed to get a 12% vote share in the last Assembly elections, is expected to seek a few seats. Even AAP is in a better position in Punjab where it has formed a government with a landslide victory.

Sonia is expected to help Congress overcome these issues by taking all opposition parties into confidence at the conclave. Meanwhile, AICC spokesperson Pawan Kare said the conclave of opposition parties, with Congress playing a big role in it, has become a cause for concern for the BJP and NDA. The desperation in the BJP camp is already being felt and people of the country are watching these developments, he said.

A mix-up, Sonia takes it sportingly

BENGALURU: Welcoming VVIPs is a formal, well-coordinated exercise, but there were moments of embarrassment as leaders of opposition parties started arriving in Bengaluru. AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, former UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior leader president Rahul Gandhi arrived here in a ten-seater aircraft and were received by AICC General Secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.

CM Siddaramaiah and DyCM DK Shivakumar welcome former AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and former MP Rahul Gandhi, at HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Monday | Express photo
CM Siddaramaiah and DyCM DK Shivakumar welcome former AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and former MP Rahul Gandhi, at HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Monday | Express photo

As Siddaramaiah was offering a bouquet to Kharge, they both inadvertently came in the way of Shivakumar, who was presenting a bouquet to Sonia Gandhi. But Sonia stepped back smilingly and collected the bouquet from Shivakumar.

Commercial Taxes Commissioner C Shikha, who was assigned the responsibility of welcoming the guests as part of the protocol, was present at the HAL Airport along with 27 IAS officers. Shivakumar was seen welcoming most of the VIPs who arrived by evening. He was accompanied by ministers Dinesh Gundu Rao, MB Patil and Lakshmi Hebbalkar.

Congress pep talk
AICC  president Mallikarjun Kharge,  who is taking part in the opposition parties’ meeting in Bengaluru, will meet Congress legislators on Wednesday evening and give them a pep talk. Meanwhile, the House might be adjourned a little early on Wednesday to facilitate that meeting. 

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