Not invited to the all-party meeting called on Friday to discuss the escalating India-China tensions, some opposition parties have lashed out at PM Narendra Modi and the BJP.
The RJD, Aam Aadmi Party and the AIMIM were among parties given the apparent snub reportedly based on their negligible parliamentary presence.
Taking to Twitter on the eve of the meeting, RJD leader and party chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav said, Dear @DefenceMinIndia @PMOIndia, Just wish to know the criteria for inviting political parties for tomorrow’s #AllPartyMeet on #GalwanValley. I mean the grounds of inclusion/exclusion. Because our party @RJDforIndia hasn’t received any message so far. (sic)”
Echoing Yadav’s sentiments, his party’s Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha told News18, “The RJD has 80 MLAs in Bihar. It is the single-largest party in the state. And it has five MPs in the Rajya Sabha. What makes you exclude us from the all-party meeting is beyond our understanding.”
Lashing out at the government, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said his party was also not invited to the all-party meeting chaired by home minister Amit Shah on the Covid-19 situation.
“I have repeatedly been asking the Centre questions about the China issue. But they won’t invite us on an issue like this. I feel it’s they don’t care about opposition voices beyond their own,” Owaisi said while speaking to News18.
The Aam Aadmi Party which has four MPs was also kept out of both meeting. The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh accused the central government of political arrogance when it should be seeking cooperation.
Leaders of at least 17 parties are scheduled to attend the all-party meeting called at 5pm on Friday by Modi to discuss the escalation of tensions with China following the brutal killing of 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
Calls to party chiefs were made by defence minister Rajnath Singh and home minister Amit Shah, while some parties were contacted by officials in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The leaders who are expected to attend the meeting are JP Nadda (BJP), Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), MK Stalin (DMK), Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam (AIADMK), N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Jagan Mohan Reddy (YSR Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Nitish Kumar (JD-U), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), D Raja (CPI), Sitaram Yechury (CPM), K Chandrashekar Rao (TRS), Sukhbir Badal (Akali Dal), Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha).
While Odisha CM and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik is unavailable for the meeting, the party will be represented its Lok Sabha floor leader Pinaki Misra.
Several opposition leaders have demanded clarity from the government on circumstances that led to the clashes with Chinese troops in violent escalation of a months-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control.
The clashes reportedly involved intense hand-to-hand fighting but no gunfire, in line with longstanding practices aimed at avoiding a full military confrontation over the 3,500-kilometre border. According to Indian officials, soldiers were hit with clubs studded with nails and stones.
The Ministry of External Affairs has said that it is using diplomatic channels with China to de-escalate a military standoff.
Reports quoting sources from the Indian Army said 18 soldiers undergoing treatment at a hospital in Leh are no more critical and are stable, while 58 soldiers at other hospitals should be back on duty within a week.