New Delhi: Even as 22 Opposition parties met last week to discuss Covid-19 and lockdown scenario in the country, a “core group” of five parties has been formed to try and gain political capital out of the “mismanagement” of the situation by the Narendra Modi government.
The five parties, all erstwhile UPA members, are, Congress, DMK, RJD, NCP and the CPI(M). The parties are likely to meet later this week after further discussions amongst the leaders on Tuesday.
Sources told this newspaper that the formation this group was not announced at the May 22 meeting as the agenda for that day was only Covid-19 and lockdown related issues.
The larger group of 22 parties had last week put forth an 11-point charter of demands. They asked the government to make direct cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket for six months, reverse all unilateral policy decisions, particularly the annulment of labour laws, release substantial funds to states in the frontline of the war against coronavirus, provide accurate information on infections and goalposts vis-à-vis testing, infrastructure and containing the virus’ spread.
The parties also asked the government to distribute 10 kgs food grains to all needy individuals each month for the next six months, increase the number of MGNREGA work days to 200, provide free transportation to all guest workers to their native places, and consult states while allowing international and domestic flights.
The core group would also discuss various other issues like the arrest of leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and communal polarisation.
“The idea is to use this opportunity to expose the ineptness of the Modi dispensation and evolve a political challenge to the BJP,” one of the leaders who did not wish to be named said. Together, these five parties have nearly 90 Lok Sabha seats.