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Top Oppn leaders to attend Sharad's show of strength

New Delhi: Top leaders from opposition parties, including Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Sitaram Yechury, are likely to attend a meeting that seeks to save "composite culture", to be hosted by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav tomorrow.
Yadav said apart from the Congress, the Left and the SP, representatives of other opposition parties, including the TMC, BSP and NCP, will also attend the meeting, being widely seen as a show of strength against his party chief Nitish Kumar's decision to ally with the BJP.
At a press conference here, Yadav did not take questions on his differences with Kumar and future political course. He claimed the event was not against anybody but in the interest of the country.
Asserting that "composite culture" was the soul of the Constitution, which he alleged was being "tinkered with", Yadav said similar meetings would be held across the country.
The former JD(U) chief said the decision to hold the event was taken weeks ago, when his party was still with the loose opposition group.
"The 'sajha virasat bachao sammelan' (save composite culture programme) is not against anybody but in the interest of the country. This is in the interest of 125 crore people of the country," he said.
He cited incidents such as the suicide of Rohith Vemula and the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, besides suicides of farmers across the country, to suggest that the situation was tough for underprivileged people.
While supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments against violence in the name of faith, Yadav said it was not reflected on the ground and Modi needed to tell his party's governments to follow his dictum.
The JD(U), which had removed him as its parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, has asked him not to keep the company of "tainted leaders".
Yadav was accompanied by Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha member suspended from the parliamentary party by the JD(U), and Arun Shrivastava, recently sacked from the post of general secretary.
In a statement later, Yadav said Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel, besides former PM Singh and Gandhi from the Congress, Yechury of the CPI(M), Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Aggarwal of the SP, Manoj Jha of the RJD, Farooq Abdullah of the National Congress and former Jharkhand chief minister Babu Lal Marandi had confirmed their participation.
D Raja (CPI), Sukhendu S Roy (TMC), Ajit Singh (RLD), Tariq Anwar (NCP) and Veer Singh (BSP) will also attend the meeting, apart from representatives of farmers, dalits and other sections of society.
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