Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal In Opposition Pow-Wow

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The opposition leaders are meeting at Sharad Pawar's house in Delhi

New Delhi:

After a day-long show of strength at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, key opposition leaders have gathered at the home of Sharad Pawar for further deliberations. Those attending include Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee — leaders of three parties who are expected to work closely together despite their earlier differences to take on the BJP in the coming general elections.

Sources said the discussion is on a possible alliance between Mr Kejriwal's party and the Congress in Delhi. While the two parties are known for their political rivalry, the opposition leaders are arguing that a lack of an alliance in Delhi is likely to harm the unity agenda, sources said.
Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats, all of which were won by the BJP in the 2014 national elections.

But in the subsequent assembly election, Mr Kejriwal's party had won big. The Aam Aadmi Party swept the 2015 elections, while the Congress drew a blank.

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The Congress-AAP dynamics had been skewed from the beginning, with Mr Kejriwal's party growing out of the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare that had targeted the Congress government in Delhi led by Sheila Dikshit.

Still, the two parties had entered a partnership in 2013, which ended with Mr Kejriwal's 49-day tenure as Chief Minister.

The parties, which have been at loggerheads since, had to re-calibrate their stance after persuasion from opposition leaders — Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, DMK chief MK Stalin and CPM's Sitaram Yechury. Co-opted into the united opposition, Mr Kejriwal even shared stage with Rahul Gandhi.

The mega rally today was attended by leaders of 15 parties — way below the 23 that had attended Ms Banerjee's January 19 rally in Kolkata. The other opposition leaders attending the meet include Mr Naidu and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah.

The big political statement of the day had come from Ms Banerjee, who said she would fight along with bitter political opponents the Congress and the Left to take on the BJP in the general elections.

"In the coming days, we will fight unitedly. Whatever our fight with Congress and CPM, it will be in the state. At the national level, we will all fight together," Ms Banerjee said. "For greater interest of the nation, I am ready to sacrifice my life, I am ready to sacrifice my party, I am ready to sacrifice everything."

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