Kejriwal, Mayawati, Mamata to skip PM Modi’s all-party meet; Left to attend


NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati are among the host of Opposition leaders who will skip the all-party meeting on Wednesday on the issue of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, DMK supremo M K Stalin will also not attend the meeting that was called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said.

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NCP president Sharad Pawar and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu are likely to skip the meeting of party chiefs, while the Left parties are likely to attend, sources said.

The Congress, however, is yet to take a decision on the issue.

Mayawati tweeted on Tuesday morning that said she would have attended the all-party meeting if it was on electronic voting machines (EVMs).

According to the sources, Kejriwal would not be attending the meeting and the Aam Aadmi Party would be represented by party member Raghav Chadha.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi will be represented at the meeting by its working president K T Rama Rao, the son K Chandrashekar Rao.

“All the Left parties are likely to attend the meeting. We will attend and oppose the ‘one nation, one election’ issue,” a senior Left leader said.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee had also declined the invitation to attend the meeting and asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the “one nation, one election” issue for consultations.

Leaders of UPA constituents, who had met in Parliament on Tuesday evening, discussed the issue and decided that they would hold further discussions with other like-minded parties before taking a final call on the matter.

Asked whether Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will attend Wednesday’s meeting convened by the prime minister, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said “you will know tomorrow (Wednesday)”. Rahul Gandhi evaded questions on the issue when posed to him after the meeting in Parliament.

Modi has invited the heads of all the political parties that have at least one member either in the Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue.

Sources said that Opposition parties are weary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a “trap” set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead.

The agenda for the meeting also include celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner meeting with all the MPs on Thursday. (AGENCIES)