Meeting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and some other Congress leaders on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the hope that they would meet more often.
According to a report in NDTV, Modi said, “We should always meet like this.”
Gandhi and Modi sat facing each other in the latter’s office just two days after the Congress VP accused Modi of corruption.
As the meeting ended, Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha, responded to the Prime Minister’s comment saying, “Even if our hearts don’t meet, we can at least cooperate and shake hands.” Everyone laughed and chit-chatted for a while after that, said the report.
The delegation included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, deputy leaders in both Houses Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.
Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of farm loan waivers with the PM, citing inputs he had gathered during his tour of Uttar Pradesh, which is due for elections soon.
“Farmers are committing suicide all over the country. Government removed import duty on wheat, this is a devastating blow,” Rahul said after the meeting.
He said the Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is serious but did not say anything on loan waiver.
But the Congress VP’s one-to-one meeting with Modi has not gone down with some Opposition parties. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Nationalist Congress Party dropped out of a delegation to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to record their protest against demonetisation, as a result of Rahul’s meeting with the PM.
This strikes a blow to Opposition unity, just a few days after 15 Opposition parties had picked Gandhi as their spokesperson.
The report said that Opposition parties are upset that the Congress Vice-President sought a meeting with the Prime Minister without involving the other parties.