Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pawar, Stalin, nixed Congress proposals - Lokmat Exclusive

Sonia wanted "physical not virtual" meeting with PM 

All-party meeting on China

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

New Delhi, June 20
No Opposition party leader supported the idea floated by the Congress that the Prime Minister should hold a face-to-face meeting rather than “virtual meeting.” The Congress wanted the PM should call leaders physically for effective interaction on thorny Galwan Valley crisis.

But no one agreed. Nationalist Congress president Sharad Pawar rejected the proposal out-right saying “virtual meeting is as good as physical meeting in the times of Covid.”
A senior NCP leader, on the condition of anonymity told Lokmat that Pawar Saheb reminded that Sonia Gandhi had herself held a virtual meeting with 22 leaders on May 22.
CPI’s Secretary D Raja told Lokmat over the phone confirmed saying, “I personally had no objection to the physical meeting. But other leaders were perhaps not willing,” he said.
DMK leader M K Stalin did not agree either. It transpires that a top aide of Sonia Gandhi contacted leaders personally after the government initiated move to hold the meeting on June 19. But there was no positive response from leading parties.

It also transpires that they were also uncomfortable with the very line the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi had taken on the Indo-China violent clashes.

This was reflected in the meeting yesterday where a combative Sonia Gandhi raised several tough questions and accused the government of many failed opportunities. Sonia spoke first and wanted to set the tone immediately after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the presentation tracing the history of conflict.

But she stood virtually isolated as neither Sharad Pawar and nor DMK supported her line of attack. Pawar said, “issues such as whether soldiers carried arms are decided by international agreements, and everyone should respect such sensitive matters.” Obviously, he was distancing himself from Rahul Gandhi line. Stalin also supported the government on the issue including most Opposition parties.