Congress high command Sonia Gandhi had invited almost all the opposition parties to unite as one entity against the BJP-led government on Friday, ahead of the last day of the monsoon session.

This is the third all opposition party meet in past few months and is being regarded as the broadest possible unity. Before this 17 opposition parties had united to decide a consensus candidate for the Presidential polls and then 19 parties united to decide the candidate for the Vice-Presidential elections.

The meeting was held few hours before the beginning of the last proceedings of the monsoon session this year. The main agenda of the meeting was to stand unitedly and raise voice against atrociteis of the Modi government. The farmer-related issue, increasing communal tension, misuse of investigating agencies, subversion of democratic institutions, attack on opposition leaders, etc were to be discussed.

All the 16 parties assured their cooperation beyond the Parliament as they gear up to mount against BJP in the General elections due in 2019.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC high command Mamata Banerjee said her party will be committed to cooperating with all in unitedly fighting the BJP. CPM secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “we (the Opposition) have to first change the narrative, the political narrative, to take on the Modi government and the BJP.” Though both the parties did not show any sign of on a CPM-TMC joint action.

CPI leader D Raja told the meeting his party “favoured unity of all secular parties”. Several parties talked about what they called concerns of farmers, youth, farmers, Dalits and Muslims “under the BJP-led government”. Issues such as unemployment, cow vigilantism, “subversion of institutions and misuse of investigating agencies” were also common concerns.

Feeling ditched after Nitish Kumar‘s decision of breaking the grand alliance and joining hands with BJP, JD(U) was excluded from the list of opposition, however, a personal invitation was sent to former JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav. Sharad who has been openly criticizing the decision of Nitish said that he is still with the grand alliance. He himself could not attend the meeting as he is on a three-day public interaction tour across Bihar to know public’s opinion about the new government formed by Nitish. Another rebel JD(U) leader Ali Anwar attended the meeting on behalf of Sharad.

Ali said that “On the advice of JD(U) parliamentary party leader Sharad ji I attended the meeting. The need of the hour is for all secular parties to unitedly resist the negative politics of BJP and the Modi government.”