The first test of opposition unity will be on Monday when the Bharat Jodo Yatra will conclude in Srinagar, where the Congress has invited at least 24 political parties to join the hoisting of the national flag. So far many of them have either skipped the yatra altogether, or distanced themselves from it.
The second test will be in the budget session of Parliament. Will the Congress be able to lead the charge of the Opposition, which has so much ammunition to fire at the government, or will they collectively flounder as a result of the disunity within them.
The Congress has made a long list of issues to corner the government with -- from the Chinese presence on the LAC to inflation, rising national debt and unemployment, and the damaging Hidenburg report -- but on many of these issues, the other political parties are silent.
The JD(U) has sent a letter to the Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge that they are unable to attend as there is no clarity on the SP, BSP as SP leader Akhilesh Yadav chose to skip the BJY and join the BRS rally of the Telangana Chief Minister recently.
However leaders of the Kashmir based parties have walked with Rahul Gandhi and some have shown solidarity. The Congress wants to demonstrate the strength of the opposition in Srinagar and subsequently in the Parliament as without a united opposition the Congress can't corner the BJP in both the Houses due to the lesser numbers. Also, the government has played it smart by giving the late SP leader and Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav the Padma Vibhushan.
However the Congress is undeterred and is attacking the government with renewed energy after the successful Bharat Jodo Yatra which has put its leader Rahul Gandhi first among the opposition.
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On the Hidenburg report, the Congress will press it in Parliament as the party alleged that there is public money involved in it. Party General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "The allegations require serious investigation by those who are responsible for the stability and security of the Indian financial system, viz. the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)."
The Congress picked up the issue of losing 26 patrol points at the LAC, and demanded a discussion on it in Parliament during the budget session.
Citing the three-day annual DGPs-IGPs conference in which a detailed security research paper was submitted for discussion, the Congress alleged that it revealed shocking facts about the rank apathy of the Modi government to China's illegal occupation of India's territory in the region. Media cell chairman Pawan Khera had said, "India lost access to 26 out of 65 Patrolling Points (PP), which was not the case before May 2020, and the subsequent Galwan clash where 20 Bravehearts sacrificed their lives."
He stated that as per the paper "Presently, there are 65 PPs starting from Karakoram Pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence has been lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, 51,52,62) due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISF."
The party has alleged that by the end of the financial year 2023, each Indian will be under a debt of Rs 1,09,373, a loan they have never taken. From 1947 till March 31, 2014, the debt per Indian was Rs 43,124. But in the last nine years, the debt per Indian has become 2.53 times what it was in 2014. In absolute terms, the debt per Indian increased by Rs 66,249 in the last nine years.
Party spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said, "the total outstanding debt of the Government of India, which was Rs 55.87 lakh crore as on March 31, 2014, would be estimated to go up to Rs 155.31 lakh crore by March 31, 2023."
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