Some Opposition parties not invited to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-party meet on the China border situation on Friday have lashed out at the government. Leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen have expressed dismay over the lack of an invitation.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made calls to party leaders, News18 reported. Leaders of at least 17 parties are scheduled to attend the meeting, which will be held at 5 pm on Friday via videoconferencing.
Tensions between India and China escalated this week after at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with their Chinese counterparts in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on June 15. China has not released the number of its soldiers who died. This is the first instance of casualties on the Line of Actual Control since 1975. On June 16, New Delhi blamed the confrontation on Beijing’s attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the area.
“Dear @DefenceMinIndia @PMOIndia, Just wish to know the criteria for inviting political parties for tomorrow’s #AllPartyMeet on #GalwanValley,” Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Tejashwi Yadav said in a tweet. “I mean the grounds of inclusion/exclusion. Because our party @RJDforIndia hasn’t received any message so far.”
Manoj Jha, one of the Rajya Sabha MPs of the party, told News18 that the Rashtriya Janata Dal has 80 MLAs in Bihar, making it the single-largest party in the state, and five legislators in the Upper House of Parliament. “What makes you exclude us from the all-party meeting is beyond our understanding,” Jha said.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh accused the central government of political arrogance at a time when it should be seeking cooperation. In a tweet, he said that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not want AAP’s opinion even though the party has four MPs and is the main opposition party with 20 MLAs in Punjab.
“Instead of taking all the parties together, the BJP is using mathematical formulas to ascertain who should be invited and who should not be,” AAP leader and Delhi minister Gopal Rai said, according to PTI. “It is unfortunate.”
According to reports, parties with over five MPs in the Lok Sabha, major parties from the Northeast and parties with Union Cabinet ministers will be invited to the meeting.
Rai said AAP will launch nationwide protests against the Chinese aggression on Saturday. Legislators of the party will stage demonstrators in their constituencies, he added. “In protest against the attack on Indian soldiers by China, Aam Aadmi Party will hold ‘Aakrosh Pradarshan’ tomorrow on June 20 at 11 am,” Rai said. “There will be demonstration in all the 70 Assembly constituencies of Delhi. India will not stand disrespect of brave soldiers.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said it appears the government does not care about Opposition voices. “I have repeatedly been asking the Centre questions about the China issue,” he said. “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.”