New Delhi: Congress leader and former party president Sonia Gandhi on Monday told Opposition leaders that they should set aside their differences on state issues and come together to take on the ruling BJP at the national level.
"We need to work together on issues of national importance, adopt common strategy both inside and outside Parliament," she said.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad further quoted her as saying, "Sonia ji remarked a few things during her speech - first, we have to work together on issues of national importance, second, we have to be very careful as far as the ideology of hate is concerned and third rampant incidents of violence across caste and communities," as per ANI.
"Institutions are being undermined, the present government is using Aadhaar as a tool to breach privacy, economic health of the country remains precarious, unemployment is a matter of great concern for the nation and the government is doing nothing in this regard," he further quoted Sonia as saying.
"There can be differences among parties in states, but there should not be differences on national issues and we should stand unitedly. We have to be alert on the violence being spread over religion and caste and many other issues that are of national concern and we all have to come together leaving aside differences," she said as per Azad.
Sonia also sought to garner the support of Opposition parties to put up a united front to plan a joint strategy for the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament and work towards larger Opposition unity to take on the BJP in upcoming polls.
Asked if the meeting was the beginning of forming UPA-3, he said, "I will not say UPA-3."
This is the first time Sonia led an Opposition meet after handing over the baton of Congress president to her son Rahul Gandhi. She continues to be the chairperson of the Congress parliamentary party and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The meeting, held at the Parliament library building, is seen as part of efforts to galvanise the support of all 17 parties most of which had come together during the presidential and vice presidential polls against the BJP.
Meanwhile, Rahul also stressed on the point that while there may be differences among some parties in different states, these should be resolved amicably among different constituents.
It was also discussed at the meeting that it was natural for those parties who are not part of the government and did not believe in NDA ideology to come together under one front to take on the NDA, PTI reported.
Top leaders who attended the meeting included former prime minister Manmohan Singh, senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, TMC's Derek O'Brien, CPI national secretary D Raja, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal, besides CPI-M's Mohammed Salim and TK Rangarajan.
JD-S leader Kupendra Reddy, breakaway JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, RLD's Ajit Singh, RJD's Misa Bharati and Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav, JMM's Sanjiv Kumar, AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal, Kerala Congress's Joy Abrahim, IUML's PK Kunhalikutti and RPS's N K Premchandran were also present at the meet.
(With Agency inputs)