Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that Opposition parties must plan systematically for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections with one objective in mind – to give India a government that believes in constitutional principles.

Gandhi made the statement during her opening remarks at a virtual meeting of 19 Opposition parties. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury were among those who attended the meeting.

The Congress chief said that the only option was for Opposition parties to work together. “We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them,” Gandhi said.

The Opposition has reportedly been making efforts to put up a united front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the next national poll. At Friday’s meeting, Gandhi clearly stated that the Opposition’s “ultimate goal” was the crucial election.

The Congress chief highlighted the complete washout of the Monsoon Session of Parliament and called out the Centre for its “arrogant unwillingness” to discuss urgent matters like the Pegasus surveillance controversy, farm laws and the sharp increase in the prices of essential commodities.

“In spite of this, the session was marked by the determined unity that Opposition parties demonstrated for twenty days in both the houses,” Gandhi said. “We functioned in a coordinated manner with daily discussions among our floor leaders.

The Congress president added: “I am confident that this unity will be sustained in future sessions of Parliament as well. But the larger political battle has to be fought outside it.”