Why did the NCP skip the joint opposition meet

Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s dramatic victory in the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat has galvanised the party to organise a conclave of Opposition leaders in New Delhi to work out a plan for the 2019 general elections

Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: Ahmed Patel thanks Sharad Yadav for 'support'

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday expressed his gratitude towards JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, whose party had supported the BJP but its lone MLA voted for Patel.

"The NCP is boycotting the meeting called by Congress", said Praful Patel, a top leader from Mr Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party or NCP, making it clear that the Congress' accusations have touched a nerve. Within hours of Ansari marking his presence at the meeting, the JD (U) suspended him from the parliamentary party. His turnaround comes after Mrs Gandhi's party, the Congress, suggested that he had betrayed it in the recent Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. The NCP justified the decision and said its leaders were very angry.

"We are not beholden to the Congress. Wherever we have our governments, we stand by the farmers who make the country proud by toiling in their fields", he said in his Hindi speech. We are contesting the Gujarat elections separately, still we voted for them in the RS polls. It's also evident - based on how far the process has got in the past month or so since it was initiated - that the participants are watching the state of play in relation to their own respective state politics as all are state-level parties, barring the Congress. Top Congress sources say they are convinced that he sided with the BJP in Gujarat in covert cooperation while claiming that he remains committed to the league of parties that have come together to explore a joint effort in blocking PM Modi's re-election in 2019.

Asked if he believed that the Modi-led BJP can be defeated by a united opposition, the CPI (M) General Secretary said: "Defeating is later, first let us build an alternate narrative".

Confirming their resignations, Speaker Ramanlal Vohra said these MLAs were not quitting under any "threat, pressure, allurements of any posts".

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