New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of like-minded opposition parties on Monday to frame a joint action plan against the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens, and discuss the political situation arising out of surging students protests across the country.

Ahead of that, Gandhi has also called a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday to frame the main opposition party’s organisational and political response to counter the central and BJP-led state governments’ push to implement CAA and the National Population Register (NPR) that is seen as a foundation for a pan-India NRC. With Congress-led state governments having already positioned against CAA-NRC-NPR push of the Centre, CWC could make it a collective and formal party decision that it can push for at the larger opposition meeting on Monday, party insiders said.

All India Congress Committee spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said Monday’s meeting “will further discuss the emerging situation”. Leaders of around a dozen opposition parties, including DMK, RJD, NCP, Samajwadi Party and Left parties are expected to attend meeting.

However, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who had earlier written to many chief ministers and Congress leaders stressing the need for a larger opposition unity against the Centre’s contentious agenda, has said her Trinamool Congress won’t attend the meeting due to politicking by opposition parties in her state. “Due to the politics of opposition in the state in contradiction with their all-India stance, I have decided not to attend the anti-CAA and NRC meeting on January 13,” Banerjee said in the West Bengal assembly on Thursday.

Referring to clashes between TMC activists and their Left/Congress counterparts in the state during the trade union strike on Wednesday, she said, “I was the first to launch an andolan (movement) against CAA-NRC. What the Left and the Congress are doing in the name of the CAA-NRC is not a movement but vandalism. Given, what happened yesterday in the state it is no more possible for me to attend the meeting anymore.” She urged other opposition parties to “forgive” her for the decision. The two meetings are also expected express solidarity with the ongoing students’ agitations against the Centre’s planks, besides taking a critical view of the economic scene under the Narendra Modi regime.

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