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RJD cries foul over exclusion from all-party meet on China clash


New Delhi: With just a few hours to go for the scheduled all-party meeting over the India-China military faceoff called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese People's Liberation Army troops, the Rashtriya Janata Dal launched an offensive against the government saying the BJP's electoral victory is being used to exclude the RJD from having a say in crucial matters of national interest.

RJD's Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson Manoj Jha wrote a letter to the Prime Minister expressing his anguish at being excluded from the meet on an issue of such national importance. In his letter to Modi, Jha said, "The RJD being the principal opposition party in Bihar, which has a strategic location in the relations with neighbouring countries in the South Asian region because of the open border with Nepal."

"We are not just the opposition but also the largest party in the Legislative Assembly of Bihar," the RJD leader said. He further said that on raising the issue of exclusion "we were told that those parties with a minimum of five MPs in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have been invited. It is regrettable that electoral victory is being used to exclude a historically important party from having a say in a matter of such crucial national interest," he said.

He also said that it is even more regrettable that the parliament secretariat is unable to count MPs properly. "RJD has five MPs in the Rajya Sabha, which makes us qualify on this strange and arbitrary criteria of minimum five members to join a meeting called for consultation on a great concern of national security."

He said the "blatant nature of this exclusion will be a matter of record as several parties with a lesser number of members have been called to participate in the said meeting".

Both the AAP and RJD have not been invited for the all-party meet called by the Prime Minister in the backdrop of killing of Indian soldiers in an unprecedented attack by PLA troops in Ladakh.

Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, and Left leader Sitaram Yechury will be among several opposition leaders who are expected to attend Friday's all-party meeting called by Modi over the killing of the Indian soldiers by Chinese PLA in the Galwan valley.

The meeting is scheduled at 5 p.m. and it will be attended by the political parties through video conferencing. This is the first all-party meeting called by Modi after the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a violent face-off with Chinese troops at patrol point 14 on Monday night in Ladakh's Galwan valley.

The India-China faceoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has been going on since early May and the brutal attack came amid a de-escalation operation and disengagement talks already underway. Coming under attack from the opposition parties, especially the Congress, the Prime Minister after lengthy meetings with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishanker, on Wednesday sent out a clear signal to China that India won't tolerate any misadventures when it comes to defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Articulating India's clear stand, the Prime Minister at the beginning of his video conferencing meeting with the chief ministers said: "I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not go in vain. For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country are important. India wants peace but when instigated, India is capable of giving a befitting reply," he said, adding sacrifice and valour are part of India's character.

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