government in the face of the unprecedented health crisis the country was facing, a few weeks ago, the party president set up a panel to critique the government’s handling of the crisis. Since then, the Congress has been scathing in its criticism of the stimulus, the handling of the migrants issue, and the fine print of the sectoral sops announced to deal with joblessness and livelihood.
These changes include exempting industrial units from labour welfare statutes, allowing them to take steps such as increasing daily and weekly working hours, and depriving workers
of their right to move court.
But whether this will be a unified Opposition confronting the government is the big question. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s antipathy to the Congress is well known. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
has sided with the national
Opposition only on state issues, largely supporting the BJP on national
matters. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has supported, and even tried to craft, a non-Congress Opposition.
The last meeting called by Sonia Gandhi
at the beginning of the year was not attended by the TMC and BSP. The TMC’s distrust of the Congress’s affection and proximity to the Left parties was one reason. The initiative was taken around the controversy over the National
Register of Citizens and even the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the Congress in Maharashtra, and the Aam Aadmi Party
did not turn up.
Congress sources say the meeting is on the issue of migrants that concerns everyone. Unity on this issue could lead to forging a broader political unity.