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Sonia Gandhi to meet Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray, other Opposition leaders

Congress President Sonia Gandhi will meet top Opposition leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray next week.

The meeting on August 20 comes days after Opposition parties displayed unity against the government during the Monsoon Session of Parliament that concluded two days ahead of schedule on August 11.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren have also been invited for the meeting, sources said.

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The agenda of the meeting is not yet known, but many reports suggested that the Congress president wants to keep momentum of Opposition unity going. The virtual meeting will be followed by a physical meeting, in the form of a lunch or dinner, next month, the reports said.

Opposition parties displayed unity during the Parliament session by disrupting the proceedings in both houses over the Pegasus Project report, rising fuel prices and farmers’ protest.

On August 12, a day after the session was adjourned, the leaders representing Opposition parties, including Rahul Gandhi took out a protest march blaming the government for abruptly ending the session and avoiding debates on key issues.

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The opposition has accused the government of not allowing debates on important issues in the House. The government on its part held the Opposition responsible for hampering the functioning of the Parliament.

“The opposition is united. On August 20, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will speak to Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will also take part in this meeting,” Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying by NDTV.The last such meeting was held at the home of Congress leader Kapil Sibal. The Gandhis were not present at the meeting though.

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