The third meeting of the newly minted INDIA coalition will take place in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1, the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena announced today.
The announcement comes a day after the Supreme Court paved the way for the restoration of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s status as an MP, and the party said the meeting will assume greater importance because of that.
After a meeting of the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Mumbai today, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said, “At least five chief ministers will be attending the opposition meeting, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt. Rahul Gandhi will also be present. The meeting will begin on August 31 and a dinner will be organised that evening, which will be hosted by Uddhav Thackeray.”
Congress Maharashtra chief Nana Patole said several important proposals will be considered during the meeting. “The Supreme Court has given an order in Rahul Gandhi’s defamation case. The truth has won and the meeting will have greater importance because of that,” he said.
The first mega gathering of 16 opposition parties had taken place in Patna on June 23 and it was followed by a meeting of 26 parties in Bengaluru on July 17-18, where the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) name was coined.
After the Bengaluru meeting, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge had said that an 11-member coordination committee would be set up for the alliance and a convenor would be named at the next gathering.
Rahul Gandhi met Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav for dinner yesterday in the presence of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and the way forward for the INDIA coalition was also discussed, sources said.
The Supreme Court yesterday stayed the conviction of Mr Gandhi in the 2019 criminal defamation case over the “Modi Surname” remark, but maintained that his comments were not in good taste, especially for a person in public life.
The bench observed that the trial judge had awarded the maximum sentence of two years in the case and noted that Mr Gandhi would not have been disqualified if the period of sentence was even a day shorter.
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