Opposition decides to have pre-poll alliance, common minimum programme for Lok Sabha polls

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New Delhi, Feb 14. In a significant development, major
national parties on Thursday decided to have a pre-poll pact and a common
minimum programme (CMP) to defeat the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls even as
Congress appeared to keep its options open about tying up with Trinamool
Congress in West Bengal and the AAP in Delhi.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been entrusted the task of preparing the CMP.

The decisions were announced after a meeting of the
opposition parties at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad
Pawar following their “remove dictatorship, save democracy” joint
protest in the national capital.

Apart from Gandhi, the meeting was attended by Trinamool
Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telugu Desam
Party leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Aam Aadmi
Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and National Conference
leader Farooq Abdullah.

At a joint interaction later, Banerjee said they will go for
pre-poll alliance so that there is no problem later.

“We will do a pre-poll alliance so that there is no
problem after the election. And our appeal to people is to save country and
bring government of people,” she said.

Banerjee said the meeting was “very good” and
“fruitful” and there will be regular meetings as elections were
coming and there was need of coordination.

She said about 25 days were left for notification by the
Election Commission and they will also prepare a CMP.

“There is a need to save the country from disaster on
the hands of the BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. And for that we will also do
a pre-poll alliance. We will again sit on February 26,27 or 28 when we have
time. We all have agreed on common minimum programme and Rahulji will prepare a
draft and sent to us and then we shall clear it.”

Gandhi also said that the meeting was very
“constructive”.

“We have agreed that the principal target for all of us
is to fight the assualt on the Indian institutions carried out by Narendra
Modi, by the BJP, by the RSS. We have all agreed that we will start a
conversation about common minimum programme. We will start by putting together
the pieces. Discussion had now begun and we have a commitment to defeat the
BJP,” he said.

Asked about alliance with AAP in Delhi and Trinamool in West
Bengal, he said till now, no decision had been taken.

Kejriwal said entire country wants that people should come
together “to remove Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and that process has
started today”.

He said they discussed how Modi and Shah “destroyed the
country” and more details of the action plan will be out soon.

Abdullah said it had been decided to prepare a common minimum
programme which is acceptable to all.

“We want a government that keeps India united and which
connects government to people,” he said.

Naidu said “we like-minded political parties” will
work together.

“What the leaders have said today, there is a democratic
compulsion,” he said.

Although the Left parties were part of the protest held
during the day, they did not come for the meeting at Pawar’s residence.

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