New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) In a significant development, major national parties on Thursday decided to have a pre-poll pact and a common minimum programme (CMP) to defeat the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls even as Congress appeared to keep its options open about tying up with Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and the AAP in Delhi.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been entrusted the task of preparing the CMP.
The decisions were announced after a meeting of the opposition parties at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar following their "remove dictatorship, save democracy" joint protest in the national capital.
Apart from Gandhi, the meeting was attended by Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telugu Desam Party leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.
At a joint interaction later, Banerjee said they will go for pre-poll alliance so that there is no problem later.
"We will do a pre-poll alliance so that there is no problem after the election. And our appeal to people is to save country and bring government of people," she said.
Banerjee said the meeting was "very good" and "fruitful" and there will be regular meetings as elections were coming and there was need of coordination.
She said about 25 days were left for notification by the Election Commission and they will also prepare a CMP.
"There is a need to save the country from disaster on the hands of the BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. And for that we will also do a pre-poll alliance. We will again sit on February 26,27 or 28 when we have time. We all have agreed on common minimum programme and Rahulji will prepare a draft and sent to us and then we shall clear it."
Gandhi also said that the meeting was very "constructive".
"We have agreed that the principal target for all of us is to fight the assualt on the Indian institutions carried out by Narendra Modi, by the BJP, by the RSS. We have all agreed that we will start a conversation about common minimum programme. We will start by putting together the pieces. Discussion had now begun and we have a commitment to defeat the BJP," he said.
Asked about alliance with AAP in Delhi and Trinamool in West Bengal, he said till now, no decision had been taken.
Kejriwal said entire country wants that people should come together "to remove Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and that process has started today".
He said they discussed how Modi and Shah "destroyed the country" and more details of the action plan will be out soon.
Abdullah said it had been decided to prepare a common minimum programme which is acceptable to all.
"We want a government that keeps India united and which connects government to people," he said.
Naidu said "we like-minded political parties" will work together.
"What the leaders have said today, there is a democratic compulsion," he said.
Although the Left parties were part of the protest held during the day, they did not come for the meeting at Pawar's residence.