‘Friends’ Thackeray, Venugopal discuss Opposition unity

Congress is on its stated mission to unite Opposition parties ahead of the 2024 general elections.

| Updated: 18 April, 2023 10:40 am IST
Venugopal was accompanied by Maharashtra Congress leaders Bhai Jagtap, Balasaheb Thorat, Charan Singh Sapra, Nana Patole and Suraj Singh Thakur. Uddhav’s trusted lieutenant Sanjay Raut was also present.

Mumbai: Furthering Congress’ mission of unifying Opposition parties ahead of 2024 general polls, party general secretary KC Venugopal met former Maharashtra CM and Shiva Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Monday and discussed alleged misuse of Central agencies by the BJP-led government at the Centre.

After the meeting, Thackeray – whose party recently split into two – said that their battle aims at saving democracy in India. Referring to his alliance with Congress, Thackeray said: “Hum jab dosti nibhate hai, wo dosti nahi, rishta hota hai (friends are family to us).”

“We supported the BJP for 25 years, but they never really understood who is a friend and who is an enemy,” said Thackeray – who has been criticized for “compromising” on Hindutva by allying with Congress.

Speaking to reporters, Venugopal said, “I came here to convey the message of Congress president Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to Uddhav Ji.” The message, he said, is “very clear” i.e. fighting “anti-democratic forces”.

“Democracy has been completely sabotaged by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. We have seen that. The ED and CBI are being used to target Opposition parties including that of Uddhav Ji,” Venugopal said.

“The Opposition will together fight the dictatorship of Narendra Modi. There may be differences in opinion. The Congress, Sena and NCP have their own ideology, but the country is facing bigger issues which we never faced. That’s why we discussed all these issues and we are all in agreement that we all have to get together and fight these people,” he added.

Venugopal was accompanied by Maharashtra Congress leaders Bhai Jagtap, Balasaheb Thorat, Charan Singh Sapra, Nana Patole and Suraj Singh Thakur. Uddhav’s trusted lieutenant Sanjay Raut was also present.

The Congress leader also said that a meeting between Rahul Gandhi and Thackeray is on the cards.

The meeting comes days after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his deputy from ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Tejashwi Yadav.

Gandhi and Kharge have also discussed strategy on uniting Opposition with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar during an in-person meeting.

Kharge earlier discussed how to bring Opposition parties together during a telephonic conversation with CM Kumar, Thackeray and Tamil Nadu CM and DMK leader MK Stalin.

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