More than 15 political parties have been invited for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-party meet set to be held today (Friday). The meeting will be centred around the Indo-China border tensions which seem to have escalated after violent clashes at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on Monday night that claimed lives of 20 Indian Army personnel.
On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dialled presidents and heads of all political parties to brief them about the intent of the meet.
Party chiefs who are expected to attend the all-party meet today (Friday) are:
1. Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi
2. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin
3. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu
3. Ändhra Pradesh CM, representing YSCRCP, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
4. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar
5. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
6. CPI leader D Raja
7. CP(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury
8. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik
9. Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao
10. West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee
11. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal
12. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan
13. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray
14. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav
15. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren representing Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)
16. BJD leader Pinaki Mishra
Government sources said that there’s no intent to exclude any party, however, a fresh controversy sparked on the eve of the meet after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alleged that they were not invited for the meet.
Sources said that political parties with more than five MPs have been invited and therefore, the AAP with four MPs in Parliament has been left out.
Speaking to India Today TV, AAP leader Sanjay Singh slammed the Modi government calling it arrogant.
Sanjay Singh said: “At the time of national crisis when you are inviting all the other parties and taking opinions, you don’t think it is important to consider the opinion of a party which leads a government in the national capital. I don’t understand what kind of arrogance is this.”
Moreover, RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav has also tweeted asking about the “the criteria for inviting political parties for tomorrow’s all-party meet on Galwan valley”. He said: “Our party @RJDforIndia hasn’t received any message so far.”
Dear @DefenceMinIndia @PMOIndia, Just wish to know the criteria for inviting political parties for tomorrow's #AllPartyMeet on #GalwanValley. I mean the grounds of inclusion/exclusion. Because our party @RJDforIndia hasn't received any message so far.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) June 18, 2020
This is the first time since the eruption of border tensions in April that the PM has called for an all-party meeting to discuss the conflict.
The all-party meet comes a day after the BJP-led Centre and the Congress engaged in a war of words.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi questioned the government why Indian soldiers were sent “unarmed to martyrdom” in Ladakh and how dare China kill them, a day after asking the defence minister why he did not name China in his tweet and why it took him two days to condole the deaths of 20 Army personnel.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that troops at Galwan valley were fully armed, but were following no-bullets protocol.
Jaishankar tweeted saying, “Let us get the facts straight. All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs.”
Let us get the facts straight.
All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs. https://t.co/VrAq0LmADp
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) June 18, 2020
Speaking to India Today TV’s Rajdeep Sardesai, a visibly angry and emotional Captain Amarinder Singh said that if the soldiers were carrying weapons, as Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has said, then the army should court-martial the officer who became the in-charge after the colonel’s death and did not issue orders to open fire.
On Wednesday, the Indian Army released a list of 20 soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty during a violent face-off with soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on the night of June 15.
In a statement it issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that the violent face-off occurred during the de-escalation process agreed upon by both sides during military-level talks at the Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point on June 6.