As India gradually opens up amid nationwide Coronavirus lockdown, Congress announced on Thursday, that party interim-chief Sonia Gandhi has called an Opposition party meeting of all 18 parties. Reports state that the video-conference meeting which will be chaired by UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi will discuss matters like the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the migrant issue, the states’ suspension of labour laws, and freeze on various parliamentary committees. 18 parties like Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, Left-wing parties, NCP, DMK, Trinamool are invited.
Shiv Sena supremo and Congress' Maharashtra-ally Uddhav Thackeray has accepted Congress' invite - making this Thackeray's first meet with Opposition. Apart from Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, JMM chief Hemant Soren, DMK chief M K Stalin and the Left parties are set to attend the meeting, as per reports. Some party leaders like AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP Supremo Mayawati have declined the invite. While Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had accepted the invite, she is scheduled to survey cyclone-hit areas in West Bengal with PM Modi.
Recently, amid the operation of Shramik trains and buses to travel migrants, Congress has locked horns with Centre with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra claiming Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has blocked 1000 buses from Rajasthan to UP, while UP has hit back claiming most of the buses did not have relevant papers. Moreover, Congress has lashed out at Centre's 5-day 'Atmanirbhar economic package' announcements, stating that most of the Centre's Rs 20 lakh roll out was part of the annual package and had nothing for migrants. The party has also demanded PM Modi stop BJP-ruled states from amending labour these laws as they 'stripped workers of their basic rights'.
Incidentally, on April 5, PM Modi called various party chiefs like Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Mulayam & Akhilesh Singh Yadav (SP), Naveen Patnaik (BJD), KCR (TRS), M K Stalin (DMK) and Parkash Singh Badal (Akali Dal). Later, on April 8, he also held an all-party meeting over the novel Coronavirus outbreak via video conferencing, after Opposition accused the Modi government of not engaging political parties. India is currently in its fourth phase of lockdown with 112359 cases, with 45300 recoveries and 3435 fatalities.