New Delhi, July 20
A number of opposition parties, including the Trinamool Congress, NCP and Samajwadi Party, attended an all-party meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to discuss the government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation while the main opposition party Congress skipped it.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were among those present in the meet for the floor leaders of all parties. Other Union ministers, included Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav and BJD’s Pinaki Misra were among the opposition leaders who attended the meeting. Leaders of the BSP and TRS also attended the meeting.
While many non-NDA regional parties attended the meeting, the BJP’s former ally, Akali Dal, also skipped it. The Left parties also did not attend the meeting.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress is not boycotting the meeting but it will not attend as his party wants the government to present the facts on the floor of both houses of Parliament.
On Monday, Modi said he has requested all the floor leaders to take some time out on Tuesday evening when he would like to give detailed information regarding the pandemic.
“We want a discussion in the House as well as outside the House with all the floor leaders. I am constantly meeting the chief ministers and all kinds of discussions are happening in different forums. So I also want to meet the floor leaders as House is going on and it will be convenient and we can talk about it (the pandemic) face-to-face,” he said.
With farmers’ issues taking centre stage in Parliament and several parties moving adjournment notices in both houses seeking the repeal of the farm laws, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said it would boycott the all-party meeting on Covid-19 called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday said the party would not attend the meeting unless the government heeded and addressed the issues of the agitating farmers.
Badal said the Akali Dal had moved an adjournment notice on farmers’ issues once again on Tuesday and forced the adjournment of proceedings.
Akali Dal, Congress and AAP all have adjournment notices on the farmers’ matters today.
The house was adjourned repeatedly before being adjourned for the day.
“We have been urging the government to call an all-party meeting on farmers issues and understand the sentiment of farmers and repeal the black farm laws. Since they are not calling the meeting on farmers, we will boycott today’s PM meet,” Badal said.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress will also not attend the meeting and said the PM could brief the Parliament on Covid since the monsoon session was on.
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann said, “Unless PM takes an initiative to repeal farm laws, we won’t let the PM speak even inside the house, what to talk of outside.”